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Increasing Local Food Availability and Affordability in All Market Channels

Addressing Food Access in the State Health Improvement Plan
Over the past year, the Farm to Plate Health Cross-Cutting Team has explored ways in which the healthcare system can be used to increase access to healthy, local food for all Vermonters. As part of this effort, the group successfully submitted strategies on food access to the 2019-2023 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).
The SHIP, released in December , lays out priorities and high-level strategies that “will be used to set direction for the next five years for budgets, policies, and programs across the health system – and by partners from the variety of sectors that contribute to health and equity.” One of these strategies is “Health care incentives and flexibility: use health care payment reforms and regulatory levers (health insurance and health system regulation, health care organization, workforce licensure, etc.) to create incentives and encourage flexibility in using health care resources to support access to food, housing, and transportation. ” Food also appears in the Priority Health & Social Conditions and in the Health Outcomes & Measures.
Suzanne Kelley (Vermont Department of Health; co-chair of the Health CCT) will lead the action planning phase for these food access portions of the SHIP, and the Health CCT, along with other food and health partners , will be used as a vehicle to carry out the next steps: developing relationships and a shared agenda with the communities most affected by inequities; outlining the actions needed to implement these high-level strategies; identifying partners to carry forward the work; and developing performance measures to track progress. Contact for more information on the CCT’s process and timeline.
Learning by Example: New Resource Celebrates Existing Food/Health Programs in Vermont
The Health CCT has also recently published the Vermont Food and Health Program Inventory , which compiles information on over 30 programs that address the intersection of food and health, from community-based nutrition education to a hospital supporting a community cold storage facility. The resource also identifies programs with an intended outcome of “increasing consumption of local food” or “assisting local farmers with costs,” which the Healthy CCT hopes will be helpful to health and food access organizations who would like to add an emphasis on local food to their work.