Access to Healthy Foods
The primary objective of the Access to Healthy Foods Team (AHFT) is to provide technical assistance to communities and undertake projects that assist Arkansans in accessing healthy, affordable foods.
The Access to Healthy Foods Team meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at North Little Rock City Services, 120 Main Street, Conference Room C (Finance Dept. 2nd Floor), North Little Rock.
Important Developments and Accomplishments:
The AHFT developed goals aligned with the Healthy People 2020 initiative. Review goals here.
AHFT forms special workgroups to work on projects as they arise. Former workgroups and projects are listed below.
The Food Deserts workgroup created a presentation that it delivers around the state to raise awareness of food deserts and how to overcome them by addressing the barriers to accessing healthy foods. The workgroup is currently working to create a Global Position System (GPS) map of food deserts in Arkansas from a list generated by the Arkansas Department of Health’s Environmental Health Branch.
The Menu Labeling workgroup has published an educational brochure on calorie labeling in anticipation of implementation of the menu labeling section of the Affordable Care Act.
The Breastfeeding workgroup worked with the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition to pass Act 621, requiring a private place be set aside in the workplace for breast pumping. The AHFT also created a Food Atlas that lists healthy food resources throughout the state and trained Growing Healthy Communities participants on how to create an atlas for their communities. The team is currently planning activities/events for the national celebration of Food Day (October 24).
Calorie Labeling: What Does it Mean for You? is a brochure created to educate consumers so that they can understand restaurant and vending machine calorie labeling in anticipation of the menu labeling mandate included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Food Atlas Tool Kit is step-by-step instruction on how communities can create a food atlas comprising healthy food resources available to their citizenry. This resource also provides community leaders with information useful for evaluating the local food environment and assessing possible food deserts.
The Shopping Farmers Markets in Arkansas brochure was published by the Arkansas Food Policy Council in collaboration with several members of the Access to Healthy Foods Team. It educates the public on how to shop farmers markets, how to store fresh fruit and vegetables, when various types of produce are in season in Arkansas and where farmers markets are located throughout the state.