Why is this indicator important?
Healthy food retailers are considered important components of healthy, thriving communities. Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some community residents to eat a healthy diet. Lack of access to healthy food is an economic, health and social justice issue. The number of households within a 1/2 mile of healthy food is also an indicator of how well our land use and development patterns are reducing the reliance on long automobile trips to help residents meet their daily needs.
What influences this indicator?
The private market has a significant influence on where food stores locate and their ability to operate profitably. However, the City can also look at where these type of land uses are allowed, and if current development regulations promote the locating of food stores or other food sources in areas where they are needed.
What are we doing about this?
In 2018, the City will take a closer look at the regulations that guide development in neighborhood centers. Neighborhood centers are centrally located areas in neighborhoods that are zoned to include smaller-scale commercial businesses, like a food store, cafe or bakery, or other services that cater to neighborhood residents. To date, few new small businesses have been able to open in these areas, so the City will look at what possible changes might be needed to support the desired types of businesses to locate in these areas.
The City Parks, Arts, and Recreation Department runs a program for residents to join one of two community gardens. Encouraging community members who don't have access to space to grow food, to enjoy the benefits of healthy, fresh food and being part of a community.
Changes are being considered to the zoning code to allow for more housing options in residential neighborhoods. Often, referred to as 'missing middle' housing, allowing for more townhomes, duplexes, and other types of housing in traditionally single-family areas puts more residents within closer proximity to existing food sources.
How do we measure progress on this?
This indicator is measured by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software to determine the number of households within a ½-mile walking distance on a sidewalk, street, trail, or path to existing grocery stores, supermarkets, farmer's markets, specialty food stores, convenience stores, or food assistance programs.