HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign for the Mid-Atlantic

Helping Municipal Leaders Create Healthy, Prosperous Communities

The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities & Towns Campaign provides free training and technical assistance to municipal leaders to adopt policies that make it easier for residents to eat better and move more.

The HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign is an initiative of The Institute for Public Health Innovation in partnership with the Maryland Municipal League and the Virginia Municipal League. 

Policies that Support Access to Healthy FoodsLocal Examples - Municipal Policies from the RegionSupporting Documents & Resources
1. Include provisions in your Comprehensive Plan that address access to affordable, nutritious foods

Promoting Food Access with Comprehensive Zoning Ordinances

Innovative Municipal Policies to Address Food Systems

Integrating Food Policy in Comprehensive Planning – Seattle, WA

2. Expedite permitting for new stores that offer healthy food

Model Licensing for Healthy Food Retail (ChangeLab Solutions)

3. Provide density bonuses or economic incentives for new grocery store development, especially in under-resourced communities

Incentive Policies for the Private Sector (ChangeLab Solutions)

Economic Development Resources to Improve Access to Healthy Food (ChangeLab Solutions)

4. Provide density bonuses or economic incentives for improved healthy food offerings in existing corner or convenience stores

Incentive Policies for the Private Sector (ChangeLab Solutions)

5. Establish standards as a licensing requirement for new food retailers

Model Licensing for Healthy Food Retail (ChangeLab Solutions)

6. Encourage menu labeling with nutrition facts

Menu Labeling Legislation - Policy Options

7. Economic Incentives for restaurants that offer healthy foods
8. Establish a Memorandum of Understanding or Joint Use Agreement formalizing use of land for Farmers’ Market
9. Encourage SNAP/EBT to be accepted at your city or town's farmers market

Sample Policy: Alexandria, VA

USDA Resources on SNAP at Farmers' Markets

Guide to Federal Benefits at Farmers' Markets

SNAP at Farmers' Markets: A How-To Handbook

10. Institute guidelines and/or zoning controls that allow Farmers’ Markets

Baltimore City Permit Guide for New or Existing Farmers’ Markets

Land Use Policies to Protect and Promote Farmers’ Markets

Sample Farmers’ Markets Zoning Ordinance - Modesto, CA

11. Develop a process by which vacant land becomes available for community gardens/urban agriculture From Neglected Parcels to Community Gardens
12. Adopt a Community Garden/ Urban Agriculture Ordinance to promote and protect community gardens and urban agriculture

Sample Policy: Bladensburg, MD’ Markets

Establishing Protections for Community Gardens

Sample Garden Policies from Around the Country

Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture

13. Adopt zoning ordinances that allow backyard poultry/animal husbandry

Policy: Mount Rainier, MD

Policy: Baltimore, MD

Policy: Policy: Salem, VA

14. Create a Food Policy Council or Task Force tasked with identifying recommendations for the City/Town to follow
15. Conduct a community food assessment Everyone Eats! A Community Food Assessment for Areas of North and Northeast Portland, Oregon
16. Adopt a Food Charter

Sample Policy: Staunton Good Food Charter

17. Adopt a Community Food System Plan Food System Plan: Portland, OR

Does your city or town have a policy that support healthy food environments? Submit it to us via email: jgroenfeldt@institutephi.org