Access to healthy food should not be a luxury. Yet 1 in 7 District households struggle with food insecurity. And East of the River, limited options for buying fresh affordable food restricts people’s ability to make healthy choices for their families.There are only 3 full service grocery stores for over 148,000 people in Wards 7 and 8 combined, making it difficult for many residents-- especially the 47% who have no access to a personal vehicle and the 17% who have a disability-- to get to fresh healthy food. This is the result of policies and practices that have chronically underinvested in communities of color and our food system.

Your zipcode should not determine your life expectancy. Yet on average, Ward 2 residents live 16 years longer than Ward 8 residents. And East of the River, people are dramatically more likely to have and die from chronic diet-related disease-- Ward 8 residents are 5 times more likely to die from diabetes than Ward 3 residents. Access to healthy food is a public health equity issue.

Local governments are responsible for solving public health problems. It is the D.C. government’s responsibility to solve public health problems and work toward an equitable city. We need the city and its elected officials to maintain solutions that are working and fix the ones that aren’t.

D.C. can address these issues by investing in access to healthy food for all. The people of D.C. need our City Council and our mayor to put the city’s money where its mouths are in 2018:

  • Amend the FEED DC Act to better support the development of small and medium-sized grocers and community-owned grocery cooperatives in Wards 7 and 8 through grants, loans, and other assistance.
  • Create a recurring fund in the city budget to fund food justice solutions
  • Reduce barriers to federal nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC
  • Maintain funding for local programs that increase access to fresh food-- like Produce Plus, Healthy Corners, Joyful Markets, Medically Tailored meals, Produce Prescription, and nutrition programs for homeless shelters
  • Invest in deeply affordable housing-- there is no food justice where there is displacement.