Food Security

According to the USDA, Food Security is present when “all people at all times have access to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy life”.  Communities working to address food insecurity—those lacking easy access to nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable food—grapple with issues like hunger, ill health, poor food quality, food production and distribution challenges, store placement inequities, transportation limitations and more. The Capitol Region is home to one of the more developed and long standing organizations working on these issues – the Hartford Food System.  Through its work to build a more sustainable region, CRCOG has engaged stakeholders like the Hartford Food System to formulate its goals, policies and initiatives to ensure that all of the region’s residents have access to healthy foods.

In this section you will find information on innovative practices at the municipal and regional level related to food security initiatives as well as best practices from beyond our region’s borders.

Reports / Plans

FoodPolicy2012_001Hartford Advisory Commission Recommendations on Food Policy
This 2012 report puts forth a slate of recommendations for alleviating hunger and providing Hartford residents with greater food security.  Action items include: increasing participation in various federal meal programs; incentivizing healthy food production and sale in the City; supporting the success and growth of farmers’ markets; and more.




Regional Plan of Conservation and Development Update-Food Systems and Food Security07_FoodSystems&FoodSecurity_CRCOG_Regional_Plan_2014_FINAL_001

Updated by CRCOG in 2014, the Capitol Region Plan of Conservation and Development: Vibrant. Green. Connected. Competitive. is a general guide for the future conservation and development of the greater Hartford area. It encourages the creation of a more sustainable region and presents some of the challenges and choices that will ultimately shape the region’s future.  The Food Systems and Food Security chapter calls for a holistic approach to food systems planning and provides a slate of goals and policy recommendations to improve food security in the region.

Click here to download the Chapter.

Click here to download the Executive Summary.

Click here to access the full plan.



Designed for Disease: The Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes
According to this California-based study by PolicyLink, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, people living in neighborhoods crowded with fast-food and convenience stores but relatively few grocery or produce outlets are at significantly higher risk of suffering from obesity and diabetes.


Click here to download the full report.


Food Policy Councils: Helping local, regional and state governments address food system challengesfoodcouncils_001

This report, prepared by the American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Research Center, provides an overview of Food Policy Councils (FPCs), charts the functions of planners on FPCs, highlights common ways that planning departments support these councils and offers lessons learned from across the country.

Click here to download the full report.







Booklet%204.4.2014_001Sustainable Land Use Model Regulations

CRCOG’s innovative booklet of Sustainable Land Use Model Regulations equips towns with model regulatory language covering ten specific topic areas, including Local Food Systems (with a focus on community gardens). The project, funded by a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, also included the creation of renderings to help communities visualize the physical impact of implementing the regulations. The visualizations were created for urban, suburban and rural communities at both a bird’s eye and street-level view. Click here to access: specific regulations by topic, the complete compendium of regulations, the accompanying visualizations and a video about the project.


Source Reference for Data Usage: Gundersen, C., E. Engelhard, A. Satoh, & E. Waxman.
Map the Meal Gap 2014: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level. Feeding America, 2014.


One of the nation’s oldest organizations championing food security, visit to learn more about the agency’s pioneering efforts to provide a sustainable, equitable and healthier food environment for Hartford citizens.



Growing Great Schools is a community-based effort in West Hartford, CT to create healthier schools by connecting food, culture, health and the environment.  Its vision is to empower West Hartford Public School students to become active participants in their nutritional and physical health, while caring for the planet.  Click here to learn more about their innovative Chefs Moves to Schools program, running Taste Tests and school-based Farmers Markets.



LOGO_EHC_2013End Hunger Connecticut! (EHC!) is a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization.  By focusing on advocacy, outreach, education and research, EHC! serves as a comprehensive anti-hunger resource for policymakers, community organizations, and low-income families.  The work of EHC! is vital to the visibility and coordination of various federal food assistance programs, such as SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs, that are meant to lower the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger.  The goal of EHC! is to improve the levels of food security and nutrition among Connecticut families while creating and supporting policies that move families toward self-sufficiency. For more information, visit the EHC! website at



National Mobile Market Two Line Web Quality LogoIn direct response to nationwide food insecurity, The National Mobile Market provides a model for bringing a mobile market to any community or city. Using tried-and-true methods, their team of financial, operational and communications experts guides teams through the process of researching local food deserts, building community partnerships, recruiting financial support and sustaining a social enterprise. The mobile market concept is simply a grocery store on wheels that brings fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy and other shelf-stable essentials to communities that would otherwise lack access to these healthy foods. Their efforts are in place to address and prevent chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity by empowering food-insecure communities with the tools they need to bring new options to their areas.  Visit their website to learn more about their approach, their network of partners and affiliates and to view their detailed development materials.


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Funding Sources

Aetna%20Foundation%20Logo[1]The Aetna Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of our 2016 Cultivating Healthy Communities grant program. We recognize that health is local: it begins in our homes, schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. By creating more chances to make healthy choices in these places, we can empower whole communities to lead healthier lives.

With this RFP, we seek to fund programs that will increase opportunities for health in underserved, low-income communities. We’re focusing on five target areas:

  • Healthy Behaviors
  • Community Safety
  • Built Environment
  • Social/Economic Factors
  • Environmental Exposures

To strengthen our impact, we’ve selected specific indicators of success–outlined in the RFP–that programs should address. Though the scope of this year’s RFP is broader, we’re still committed to programs promoting physical activity, urban gardening, and local food. With the addition of new focus areas, we hope to reach more spaces in the communities we serve.

This will be our only open RFP this year. We expect to award up to $2 million in grants to organizations in the continental United States through this program.

This will be a highly competitive, multi-staged funding opportunity and application process. All Stage 1 applications must be received by April 15th 2016 at 3PM ET. We will not accept any late or incomplete applications. You must submit a Stage 1 application in order to be considered for Stage 2.

For more information, please visit the Foundation’s website, and review the RFP. Some frequently asked questions appear at the end of the RFP. Due to the anticipated number of applicants, regretfully, the Foundation is unable to respond to individual questions about the program.


New Alliance Bank LogoThis New Haven-based foundation provides support to the non-profit community in four key areas, including Community Development, and targets “food security for all” as one of many funding priorities designed to support community stability. Fifteen CRCOG towns fall within its funding jurisdiction.  The deadline for submitting applications in 2016 is July 1st. For application guidelines, visit


Bank of America Logo2The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is offering grants for nonprofits working to address issues pertaining to hunger and basic human needs in their communities, with an emphasis on the delivery of integrated services. Funding priorities include: hunger relief; feeding the hungry and food access. 

The application period for grants focusing on Hunger Relief is open from July 18 through August 5, 2016.  To learn more about the Bank of America Charitable Foundation program, visit the Foundation’s webpage.  To review specifics about the Basic Needs funding priority, click here.


PPartners for Places, a collaborative effort of the Funders’ Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, is a successful matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place—based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and well—being for all residents. Past awards have supported energy efficiency challenges, urban agriculture projects, efforts to increase active transportation and food system improvements. The anticipated release date for the next RFP is June 2016. Visit the Funders’ Network website for more information and to view its project Idea Bank.





In the News


Announcement Clip ArtSummer Meals Program Briefing with Governor Malloy, July 8, 2013

Statewide Blitz Day 2013 was held on July 8 to raise awareness of FREE, federally-funded meals and snacks available to children 18 years and under during the summer months.  The more than 400 locations include schools, parks, summer camps, non-profits, government buildings and more.  For a complete listing of participating sites, visit  The program briefing with Governor Malloy can be viewed on CT-N at


Newspaper clip artWindsor Launches Free Summer Lunch Program

To help mitigate growing hunger issues within the community, the Town of Windsor launched “Summer Sandwiches”, its first-ever free summer lunch program, which will provide sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks to area youth and their caregivers from July 8 through August 24.  A collaborative initiative of the Windsor Public Schools, the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank and End Hunger Connecticut!,  the program is made possible through federal grants.  Link to a related Hartford Courant article here for more information.

Implementation Projects

                                        2017 CRCOG Regional Sustainability Award Winner!

Final 2017 Regional Sustainability Awards Flyer with Date Correction (cover page)_001For the second year in a row, the Town of Coventry has received CRCOG’s Regional Sustainability Award–this time for its exemplary stewardship of the Coventry Farmers’ Market, a flagship regional destination and the only municipally-owned farmers’ market in the state.  Since taking the helm in 2015, the Town has creatively managed and expanded the 22-week, ‘country-fair-type’ venue to maximize the market’s economic development opportunities as well as to provide local and regional small business and agricultural support.  Success to date has hinged on strong partnerships, an innovative operations model, a committed cohort of volunteers, creative marketing efforts and a commitment to the market’s long term sustainability.

Click here to access the Market’s website.


mobile market logoThe Hartford Mobile Market aims to address the lack of access to affordable and high quality produce in many Hartford neighborhoods. It is a year-round mobile produce market for targeted low-income neighborhoods, bringing fresh fruits and vegetables into areas with limited healthy food access. In addition to providing a source of locally and regionally grown produce for underserved communities, the Hartford Mobile Market also provides a new market for local farmers since the majority of the products sold over the course of the year on the mobile market are sourced locally.

The Hartford Mobile Market began operating in December 2014 with two weekly stops, one at Hispanic Health Council/WIC and one at Community Health Services. SNAP and debit are accepted at all stops. Additional market stops will be added throughout the first year of the mobile market’s operations. Download a PDF of a flyer for the mobile market here.