For many years, organizations and individuals across Minnesota have worked diligently in pursuit of a healthy food future. The Minnesota Food Charter reflects a useful synthesis of numerous, vetted policy and systems change strategies many already believed were needed; its October launch offered a way to share this change agenda in a cohesive and broad way.
The Food Charter Champion section highlights the work of people who have contributed and are advancing Food Charter strategies. Today, we profile the work of Kristen Klingler, Senior Public Health Specialist at the Minneapolis Health Department.
Kristen worked for several years to increase the availability, affordability, and accessibility of healthy food options in small food retail stores through the development and successful passage of a Staple Foods Ordinance for the city, which takes effect in April 2015. The amendment, when implemented, will require grocery stores, including corner stores, gas stations, dollar stores, and pharmacies, to stock certain amounts of nutritious foods including fresh produce, whole grains, proteins and dairy products.
“With so many organizations and individuals across the state working to address various aspects of the food system, there was a strong need for a unifying document that can articulate our shared vision and guide collective action,” Kristen says. “The Minnesota Food Charter is important because it serves this much needed purpose, and provides the foundation for addressing healthy food access in a coordinated way.”
Armed with the Food Charter and extensive write-in support from other Food Charter Champions, the Minneapolis City Council was able to make an informed decision about the importance of the Staple Food Ordinance, ultimately approving this important measure. Furthermore, other cities across the state can adopt a similar measure, helping create policy change at a municipal level that increases access to healthy food for all residents of Minnesota communities.