Community Food Assessments
The goal of a community food assessment (CFA) is to improve a community’s food system via increased access to healthy food. A CFA gathers information about residents’ perceptions of the food environment and their food shopping behaviors. This information can be used to best direct the efforts of community organizations, non-profits and policymakers that want to improve healthy food access. CFAs also provide a tool for raising awareness of food system deficits and opportunities, and give evidence of the community’s needs that residents can use to advocate for effective policy and programs.
The Center for a Livable Future has created a CFA tool and conducted CFAs in neighborhoods of Baltimore to gather information on communities’ experiences of their local food environments, including financial and logistical barriers to accessing healthy foods, food behaviors, and prevalence of diet-related diseases. The results are used by local community partners in their efforts to address identified areas of concern; by the Baltimore Food Policy Director to inform policymakers in the Baltimore City government; and to build the evidence-base of assets and areas of concern in the Baltimore food environment. Other institutions have used the Center's tool to collect data in various Baltimore communities. CFAs have been conducted in Clifton Park (2010, 2013), Oliver, Southwest Baltimore, Curtis Bay/Brooklyn, Greater Govans, Reservoir Hill, Lexington Market, and Hollins Market. Upcoming neighborhoods include Reservoir Hill and Lexington Market. The Center will partner with the Baltimore City Food Policy Initiative to collect data around all the public markets.