Healthy Policy

Food Systems

Food Systems Briefs

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development now offers briefs of select scholarly papers

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New Resource for Beginning Farmers

USDA now offers in depth information on conservation, land and capital, and management tools for new farmers

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Farm to Food Bank Study

A new study identifies key barriers to and successful strategies for connecting local farms and food banks

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Food Expenditure Data

Check out this map showing how much each country spends on food per capita

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Community Food Assessments

Community food assessments examine a broad range of food-related challenges and triumphs to improve a particular community’s food system. Through such assessments, interested community members can work together to (1) research what is happening within their food system, (2) communicate those findings, and (3) support policy changes based on those findings. As noted by the Community Food Security Coalition, a local or community food assessment is a powerful way to tell the story of what’s happening with food in a community based on the collection of data, reports, and feedback from residents.

Food Assessments can have many different purposes:

  • Research to better understand key issues
  • Needs assessment—inventorying needs, trends, and gaps
  • Opportunity assessment—anticipating possibilities
  • Tracking of population-level data
  • Evaluation to improve programs or policies
  • Coalition building
  • Advocacy and awareness building

This content has been developed to support individuals and organizations across Colorado to better understand their food system for any of these purposes.

Many of the tools and guidance documents provided throughout this section were developed by Spark Policy Institute with WPM Consulting and LiveWell Colorado as part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's ARRA grant. Funding was provided through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, grant number FOA#90101ARRA09.

Getting Started
New to food assessments? Wondering if you are ready for a food assessment, or if an assessment is the kind of tool your community needs to advance its efforts? This section includes some ideas to assess your readiness for starting a food assessment and has all the guidance needed for those communities who are ready to dive right in. Read more.

Data Collection
Mired in data? Wondering what pieces of data are really critical to telling your community story, and overwhelmed by how and where to find them?  This section points you directly to established data sets and tools to collect and analyze data for the four core aspects of the food system. Read more.

Case Studies
A critical early step in conducting a food assessment is to come to agreement on what question your community is hoping to answer through the process. In this section, we provide some examples of primary questions that have been used to drive an assessment, and demonstrate how communities went about answering their primary question. Read more.

Relevant resources are included throughout every section of this toolbox. Here, we include a compilation of the foremost resources to inform and guide your community food assessment efforts. Read more.

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