Online Program

Minnesota Food Charter: Designing Food Systems Change, Mobilizing Leadership for Healthy Food Access

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Lisa Gemlo, MPH, RD, LD, MN Department of Health, St Paul, MN

Complex issues in food, health, agriculture and economics inspired the Minnesota Food Charter, to address the cost and impact of obesity and diet-related diseases on the state’s residents. A community engagement process involving thousands of stakeholders produced the Food Charter, a shared roadmap to guide food policy and planning at local, regional, and state levels toward greater access to healthy, affordable, and safe food. Intended to reduce the risk and cost of diet-related diseases, these policy and systems changes conserve state resources and boost economic prosperity. Elements included background research, public engagement, community organizing, document drafting, and strategic communications. Communities most marginalized within the food system and facing the greatest health disparities were explicitly pursued for input and leadership roles. This multi-stage initiative identified healthy food access barriers and strategies, emphasizing five institutional settings (schools, health care, community, child care and workplaces). A structured, 9-month popular education process systematically analyzed public feedback (including 150 events, 400 online questionnaires, nearly 100 interviews and listening sessions, and a 10-week online townhall forum) to determine civic priorities. Stakeholders identified policy and systems barriers and strategies associated with healthy food skills, healthy food environments, healthy food infrastructure, and related cultural, social, and structural issues. A Steering Committee, Drafting Committee, and peer reviewers guided 11 rounds of document drafting; barriers and strategies were based on evidence and best/promising practices. Launched in October 2014 for diverse leaders across sectors and scales, the Food Charter mobilizes a vast healthy food advocacy network now positioned to implement these changes.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain a food charter and its role in food systems change. Explain the importance of systematic, rigorous design in executing strategies for food systems change. Identify and utilize some of the community engagement strategies in their work.

Keyword(s): Public Health Movements, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Lisa Gemlo MPH, RD, LD is the Food Systems Planner and Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health, having started as the Farm to School Planner. With over 20 years of public health nutrition experience including in the US Territory of Guam, program leadership in nutrition education for the University of MN Extension and consultation with state programs, Lisa's expertise includes curriculum development, program management and work with low literacy audiences.
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.