Faith & Food

Cincinnati Churches Advocating for Healthy Food Access Policies

Field of Work: Faith-based advocacy to combat childhood obesity

Problem Synopsis: Avondale is a Cincinnati neighborhood with high levels of poverty and of obesity in children and adults. The number of convenience stores and fast food restaurants continues to grow, while the neighborhood lost its only full service grocery store. There are more than 50 churches in the neighborhood of roughly 17,000 residents.

Synopsis of the Work: The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati, in partnership with three Avondale neighborhood churches, conducted the Faith & Food Project. The faith-based coalition conducted a community food assessment, built capacity amongst coalition members and educated policy makers about the importance of access to healthy affordable foods.

Key Results

  • The food assessment of the availability of fresh, healthy foods at 21 food outlets in the Avondale neighborhood found that the three neighborhood markets offered the highest percentage of healthy foods, but only one of the three stocked more than 50 percent of the recommended healthy foods.

    The center led a 14 member Food Access Task Force, established by the Cincinnati City Council, that assessed the needs of low-income communities for access to healthy foods identified seven innovative solutions and national best practices currently deployed against the problem.

    Center staff also engaged church members in health education on childhood obesity, community gardens, and health advocacy to develop and implement policy change through churches and schools.