What is a Community Food Assessment?
A community food assessment (CFA) is a tool used to identify geographical areas that may have limited access to healthy, fresh food. The CFA also analyzes the perception of residents regarding their local food environment and shopping behaviors. CFAs help inform decision makers of those areas that need greater access to fresh food, and how to minimize barriers to healthy food access.
In the fall of 2016, the City of Arvada was awarded a mini-grant to begin work on a CFA for our community. The Sustain Arvada Community Food Assessment is the product of a partnership between the City of Arvada and LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign.
The purpose of the food assessment was to determine the best way to tie local food production and distribution with existing public health programming, public space, and community events that will result in stronger bonds between neighbors, greater access to healthy food choices, reduced reliance on fast and processed foods, and improved community health.
Benefits of a CFA
- Knowledge of areas lacking access to fresh, healthy food
- Data to guide decision making to improve access
- Development of community partnerships to improve access
- How can the City of Arvada help create conditions in which residents can access healthy food to feed their families?
- How can the City of Arvada maximize food production for local consumption?
- How can the City of Arvada help remove barriers to participating in available food assistance programs that connect residents to the healthiest food possible?
- What is the City of Arvada’s balance between healthy and less healthy retail food outlets?
- How can the City of Arvada build an integrated approach to how staff responds to and promotes food-based development?
What the Assessment Revealed
- The area of SE Arvada has the lowest availability of healthy food options.
City Goals from the Assessment
- Support fresh food access and education by encouraging collaboration between local schools and community organization (example K - 8 Learning Garden) to expand distribution of fresh food to Arvada residents.
- Help minimize barriers to fresh helathy foods by reducing challenges in distribution and encouraging community partners to do so as wel (example: Veggie Van).
- Incorporate community agriculture into all master plan updates, while also standardizing the request for proposal process for leasing city-owned land for community agriculture projects.
Planning for a Healthy Future
- Commitment to creating a sustainable community
- City-wide Comprehensive Plan updated to include community agriculture as a priority
- Community agriculture supported on City-owned properties throughout the community
- Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan updated with emphasis on wellness, neighborhood park activation, including increasing community agriculture as a future park type
- Expand on Community Agriculture guide developed by Sustain Arvada to provide more resources to people interested in community agriculture
City Manager's Office: 720-898-7500