265298 Policy Change from the Ground Up: Creating a Movement for Healthy Food Access from Grassroots to Treetops

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

JuliAnna Arnett, BA , San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, Community Health Improvement Partners, San Diego, CA
Cities and communities are facing a number of challenges in the 21st century: obesity, food insecurity, unemployment, climate change. Local and national leaders are looking for powerful, innovative solutions to heal our cities. Community gardens are rising to prominence as an effective, low-cost tool in promoting public health, economic resilience, and social cohesion. This session will focus on strategies communities and government can carry out together to improve access to healthy, affordable produce through community garden policy.

In 2011, the Mayor of San Diego signed into law an ordinance that allowed community gardens by right in all residential and commercial zones. This policy change was a result of a two-and-a-half-year effort led by a grassroots coalition, a redevelopment agency, multiple nonprofits, and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The regulatory challenges to community gardens were first unearthed when a local nonprofit attempted to permit a community garden. The process took 18 months and $46,000 to complete. This experience became the springboard for a multi-pronged, collaborative effort to reform community garden policy.

This session will describe the public health and food movements that led to interest in community garden reform; strategies for successfully working with grassroots, agencies, and cities; challenges that were encountered and ways to overcome them; and lessons learned in advancing community-driven policy. The session will also focus on how this model led to additional urban agriculture and food systems reforms with the City of San Diego.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify strategies for successfully working with grassroots organizations, CBOs, cities, school districts and other partners to develop and enact policy changes designed to enhance accessibility and affordability of healthy foods with a focus on under-served communities.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have led efforts throughout San Diego County (pop. 3.2 million) to engage partners from multiple sectors to educate policy makers and advocate for policy changes that have led to improvements in healthy food access in under-served populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.