The Baltimore City Food Environment
A growing body of public health evidence suggests that differential access to healthy foods contributes to racial health disparities-and elimination of these disparities is one of two goals established by the US government in Healthy People 2010, a comprehensive health promotion and disease prevention agenda. Public health research on food environments (and specifically food stores) has increased in the last decade, but the conclusions of many studies have been hindered by the number of stores examined or the sizes of the sample areas. Using multiple researchers and collaborating with residents, community organizations, and business owners, we have collectively been able to examine nearly every food store within the City of Baltimore.
Three categories of stakeholders with varying experiences, knowledge, and influence are working to improve the Baltimore City food environment. The first group is made up of residents, advocates, community groups, and local businesses. The second is the City of Baltimore, composed of elected officials, policymakers, educators, and regulators. The third is public health researchers, represented locally by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future but also supported by national and international investigators concerned with diet, nutrition, food security, food production, and environmental and human health.
In Just and Lasting Change: When Communities Own Their Futures Taylor-Ide and Taylor describe the key collaborations ("the three-way partnership") that must develop among communities, governments, and research experts to produce and sustain positive change (Taylor-Ide & Taylor, 2002). The three groups described above are at a critical juncture for enacting change: Local data has been collected, and communities are reaching tipping points of both need and demand. Public health researchers have a crucial role to play-along with Baltimore City and its communities- in crafting new programs that will be effective, efficient, just, and sustainable.
These reports reflect the results of our research, numerous case reports, and recommended interventions to improve the Baltimore City food environment.
CLF Publishes First Comprehensive Report on the Baltimore City Food Environment
2010 CLF Announcement
Manuel Franco Speaks on Baltimore City Food Environment
2010 CLF Announcement