Why do we need the Minnesota Food Charter?

Minnesota diets, particularly those high in calories and unhealthy foods and beverages, contribute to surging health care costs and lower work productivity. This is not sustainable. As a state, we must work together to improve our health and support a vibrant economy. By putting health at the center of policies and systems, we can achieve the changes we envision.

That’s why we created the Minnesota Food Charter. Thousands of Minnesotans worked together to map a future that supports healthy, prosperous communities across the state. With involvement from leaders in health, agriculture, economic development, local and state government, philanthropy, and research, the Minnesota Food Charter offers steps we can take at local, state, and federal levels to increase everyone’s access to affordable, healthy food. Our future prosperity depends on it.

In many settings, the foods and drinks that are most available and affordable are also the foods that are the least nutritious. Frequently, the foods that are best for our long-term health are costlier and harder to find. By making healthy food easier to find and more affordable, we can replace less nutritious food with more nutritious, affordable choices in the places we spend time. Evidence and thousands of Food Charter participants told us that:

  • To reduce rates of obesity and related chronic diseases, we must comprehensively change our food environments. These changes will extend from farm to table, and at all the points in between.
  • Unless we solve this problem, it will create long-term economic and public health burdens.
  • Strengthening key aspects of Minnesota’s food supply for all our residents will help support resilient, healthy communities and a vital food and farm economy.
  • In Minnesota, communities with limited resources do not enjoy the same rates of good health, healthy food access, and economic prosperity as the rest of the state.
The Food Charter focuses on changing policies and systems, so the healthy choice is the easy choice for everyone.

The Food Charter offers effective, publicly supported ways to improve all Minnesotans’ health by changing our food environments, building on a legacy of ongoing work to ensure a safe, healthy food supply. These recommendations will also support the state’s future prosperity, by reducing healthcare costs, increasing worker productivity, and supporting a robust food and farm economy.

“For everyone to have access to healthy food, we need to focus on economic, social and environmental conditions that promote health.”
Commissioner Ed Ehlinger, MD, MSPH, Minnesota Commissioner of Health