Partner Spotlight

Making an Impact Where It’s Needed Most

Family laughs and eats in the kitchen while they cook together We’re transforming the food landscape in pursuit of food and health equity. As our name states, our goal is a healthier America. We’re achieving that by focusing our efforts where they’re needed most.

Earlier this year, we launched our Food Equity Opportunity Map, which allows people to see what food equity looks like in their community for the first time, and highlights where improving good food access would make the greatest impact. It uses census, income and health data to help inform actions that individuals, businesses and policymakers can take to improve food quality and accessibility in their communities.

This is particularly important because the U.S. food system is a major cause of poor health.

90% of Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables — foods that are essential for preventing, slowing or reversing nutrition-related chronic diseases. There’s also been a systemic lack of access to healthy foods that’s existed in communities of people from racial and ethnic minority groups for generations. In order to ensure all Americans have access to good food, we must target our efforts to break down these historic barriers to food equity.

PHA’s SVP of Marketing and Development, Jason Wilson, recently spoke with Food Navigator about how businesses and policymakers can use the map to improve food equity. “The Food Equity Opportunity Map helps us identify those areas where we can work together in partnership — this includes CPG brands, philanthropic sectors and charitable food systems,” he said.

This could look like a retailer marketing healthier products in zip codes where there is less food equity, or a supermarket offering affordable grocery delivery options in areas where time and public transportation are barriers to access, or a local government official targeting their efforts to improve food access more directly to the communities that need it.

“This map is a visual representation of food inequities at the local level. It can spark conversation, spur action, and design solutions and policies so that communities can have equitable access to good food. I’m excited for its potential to take our programs to the next level.” - Margaret Read, PHA’s Senior Director of Impact & Evaluation

The map is helping inform actions we can all take to improve food quality and accessibility. As we continue to build on its foundation, it will show all the progress we’ve made in the fight for a healthier future.

We all know the US food system needs improvement. Our hope is that this map can be a tool for consumers, government, business, retailers and non-profits to shape our work and build long-lasting access to healthy food faster.