Staple Foods Ordinance Approved!
On October 31st, 2014, Minneapolis City Council approved revisions to the city’s staple foods ordinance, which will significantly increase the amount of healthy foods available in grocery stores, convenience stores and other licensed food retailers. An evaluation of this policy change has been funded by GOPC.
This landmark policy change represents another important advance in the city’s efforts to address access to healthy foods, particularly in underserved and low-income neighborhoods. Since 2009, the Minneapolis Healthy Corner Store Program has supported licensed grocery store owners efforts to make healthy foods more appealing, visible, and attaining. The program works to fight against three major health problems which include obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The program is concentrated in areas that need help the most which mainly include lower income neighborhoods. Healthy, fresh foods are hard to come by in these particular areas where as unhealthy, junk foods are not.
The staple food ordinance aims to increase healthier food categories, set a minimum amount of healthier foods in each category, and offer healthier fresh produce standards. These changes will go into effect in Minneapolis in April 2015.
For now, Minneapolis is the only city in the nation to have staple food standards for licensed grocery stores. Keep in mind, it’s efforts like this and the fortitude that come from the GOPC that help the world move forward in obtaining healthier lifestyles and prevent global obesity.
Meet the team that is heading the Minneapolis Healthy Corner Store Program:
Melissa Laska, PhD, RD (PI) is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota. She is a nutrition and obesity prevention specialist with a broad background in behavioral epidemiology and prevention research. Her research investigates the prevention of excess weight gain, with particular emphasis on contextual determinants of dietary patterns, food environments and access to healthy food. Her work has been supported by funding agencies such as NCI, NHLBI, NICHD, USDA and the American Heart Association. She serves as Senior Research Advisor to Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focusing on policy strategies for healthy eating and obesity prevention among young people.
Caitlin Caspi, ScD (Co-investigator) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Minnesota and a co-Investigator on the study. She completed her doctorate in social epidemiology in 2012 at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her specific research interests are in evaluating interventions and policies to reduce health disparities related to diet and obesity. Previous work has examined measures of food access in urban communities, urban-rural disparities in the availability of healthy food, and the nutritional quality and cultural relevance of emergency food supply items.
Lisa Harnack, DrPH RD (Co-investigator) is a professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota where she carries out public health nutrition-related research and teaching. Her primary research interests focus on developing and evaluating public health strategies for obesity prevention.
Kristen Klingler, MPH, CHES (Co-investigator) is a Senior Public Health Specialist with the Minneapolis Health Department. Ms. Klingler is responsible for coordinating citywide healthy food access initiatives that improve the availability of healthy food options in corner stores, food shelves, restaurants, and other settings, with an emphasis on serving low-income populations and communities of color. Ms. Klingler recently led the development and successful passage of key amendments to the Minneapolis Staple Foods ordinance and serves as a liaison between the health department, University of Minnesota STORE study team, and grocery store owners.
Darin Erickson, PhD (Co-investigator) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and a prevention methodologist with extensive experience analyzing behavioral and health-related data, both from a measurement and a structural perspective. He also has expertise evaluating policy and policy enforcement issues, particularly in the area of alcohol-related policy.
Jennifer Pelletier, MPH (Doctoral Candidate) is a research assistant and data analyst for the STORE Study at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. Her research interests include policy approaches to nutrition and physical activity promotion, social and environmental determinants of health behavior, and community-based participatory research. She also serves on the Minneapolis Public Health Advisory Committee.