Online Program

Choosing to Be Healthy: Using Laws and Policies to Increase Access to Healthy Food Options in Mobile Food Shelves, Meal Programs, and other Emergency Food Services

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Mary Marrow, JD, Public Health Law Center, St. Paul, MN
Many individuals and families rely on food shelves, meal programs, shelters, and other emergency food sources to meet their basic food needs.  While the focus of these efforts is often on ending hunger, there is an increasing recognition of the need to provide healthy food and not just putting any food on the tables of those in needs. Emergency food sources often struggle to provide healthy food (fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy, legumes, etc.) to their customers, even as customers increasingly ask for more nutritious food.  Community groups are increasingly using policy and legal tools to increase the availability of healthy food to their customers.  However, policy and legal issues can also be a barrier to efforts to increase healthy food.

This session provides an overview of new and emerging policy and legal tools that emergency food providers are using to increase access to healthy food for their customers, along with a discussion of some challenges faced when developing and implementing policy and legal initiatives in these settings.  Some policy and legal tools being explored by emergency food providers include nutrition policies for donations and tax incentives for donations of local, fresh food.  The discussion will draw on work with mobile and other food shelves, food banks, emergency meal programs, shelters, and other emergency food providers in Minnesota seeking to increase access to healthy food for low-income individuals and families.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Analyze laws impacting mobile food shelves, meal programs, and other emergency food providers. Identify opportunities to integrate healthy food policies into emergency food programs. Recognize potential barriers to implementation of healthy food policies in emergency food initiatives.

Keyword(s): Low-Income, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ms. Marrow is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center. Ms. Marrow's work focuses on increasing access to healthy food, including the needs of low-income individuals and families to obtain healthy food, even when relying on food shelves, meal programs, and other community services to meet their food needs. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Marrow was a legal aid attorney representing clients in government benefits, family, housing, and disability cases.
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.