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Ideas for Action
Health & Economic Development


Economically stable and prosperous communities foster a sense of neighborhood pride and encourage residents to engage in community events and civic activities, helping prevent crime and violence that discourages investment in jobs and business opportunities.

Click on each heading below for expanded information on pursuing economic development that benefits health.

Attract and retain grocery stores — they are valuable neighborhood assets.

Full-service markets increase access to healthy food, provide jobs, and attract additional businesses to the area. The presence of a supermarket in a neighborhood increases fruit and vegetable consumption and reduces the populations’ risk for overweight and obesity, and the incidence of hunger.

  • Local agencies can use zoning tools to encourage and enable healthy food providers to locate in under served areas.
  • They can also promote healthy food options by developing tax credits, grant or loan programs, or small business and economic development programs as part of incentive programs to attract markets that provide fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods.

Locate commercial and retail development in downtowns, on main streets and in new neighborhood centers close to housing.

Concentrating development and redevelopment in these areas will reduce sprawl and commute traffic congestion, revitalize downtowns, and encourage more dense vibrant neighborhoods that facilitate walking and bicycling.

Provide jobs that pay good wages and give residents the opportunity to build household assets.

Unemployment and low income is a strong determinant of all health outcomes. Strategies local agencies are pursuing to attract and retain good jobs include:

  • Adoption of living wage or self-sufficiency income policies
  • Micro-lending
  • Job-training, financial counseling and other small business development programs
  • Community benefit agreements in conjunction with new development

Support local agriculture.

Efforts to encourage community gardens, school gardens, farmer’s markets, and local procurement of food by schools, hospitals, and other community institutions have many benefits. These efforts promote local agricultural production, increase awareness of healthy eating options and make fresh products more accessible to the community.

Protecting agricultural land through land trusts, minimizing conflicts between agricultural and adjacent land uses, improving the economic viability of agriculture and making connections between farmers and the local market can all contribute to a healthy regional agricultural economy.

Allocate funding to support federal food programs at farmer’s markets.

Allocate funding for farmers markets to install equipment that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) vouchers through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

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