Innovative Report Provides Strategic Direction for Colorado Food Policy Efforts
Online PR News – 09-March-2010 – – March 8, 2010 – Denver, CO – LiveWell Colorado, a non-profit organization committed to reducing obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living, today released a “Food Policy Blueprint”. The Blueprint identifies the most pressing policy needs and opportunities to strengthen access to healthy foods in Colorado. The comprehensive report was developed with input from hundreds of stakeholders from across Colorado, and offers tools and strategies for improvement in Colorado’s food systems.
“This Blueprint is essentially the State Plan for advancing food policy in Colorado,” said Maren C. Stewart, president and CEO of LiveWell Colorado. “This comprehensive report will enable LiveWell Colorado, in partnership with other stakeholders across the state, to make impactful changes in the area of food policy and, in particular, improve access to healthy eating opportunities.”
Under the guidance of its strategic plan, LiveWell Colorado is committed to ensuring access to healthy foods for all Coloradoans, advancing nutritional competency, and supporting behavior changes that result in healthier eating choices and ultimately a reduction in obesity rates.
Some tools included in the Blueprint are:
• A searchable Healthy Foods Database. This searchable inventory lists ongoing efforts across the state to increase access to healthy food.
• Thirteen criteria and a scoring system that can be applied to policy recommendations in order to prioritize recommendations relating to food access.
• Eight high-priority policy recommendations that have emerged through surveys and interviews of stakeholders across the state and will direct future policy efforts.
Some of the eight recommendations include:
• Local land use policies that allow and incentivize food production, including home-based and community food production and urban agriculture.
• Policy to establish statewide technical assistance to enable more partnerships between food assistance programs and local food production, such as direct market farming, community gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture.
• State policy to establish a healthy food markets financing initiative with a funding and resource pool to support the economic development of healthy food retailers, including full-service grocers, mobile vendors, corner stores, and farmers’ markets and stands.
The Blueprint also includes several overarching implementation strategies to advance healthy food access policies. One critical strategy is the formal establishment of a Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council, a diverse body that could advise the advancement and achievement of the eight policy priorities included in the Blueprint. LiveWell Colorado has initiated legislation, SB 10-106, which, as introduced, establishes this council.
“This Blueprint addresses current efforts that are working and should be replicated as well as identifies gaps and opportunities for LiveWell Colorado and our partners,” added Stewart. “Not only does it provide a roadmap for attaining short-term goals, but it also paves a path for long-term food policy advocacy and efforts in our state and the nation. We look forward to using this innovative approach to achieve changes that will impact the health of our communities for generations.”
To learn more about LiveWell Colorado’s public policy agenda and to volunteer as an advocate for healthy eating and active living, please visit http://www.livewellcolorado.org/advocacy.
For a brief overview or the full report, visit http://www.livewellcolorado.org/resources/policy-blueprints; the Healthy Foods Database is available at http://livewellcolorado.org/community-initiatives/healthy-food-initiatives.
About LiveWell Colorado
LiveWell Colorado is a non-profit organization committed to reducing obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living. Leading a comprehensive approach, LiveWell Colorado inspires and advances policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that aim to provide every Coloradoan with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in the places they live, work, learn and play. For more information about LiveWell Colorado, visit www.livewellcolorado.org.