Improving Access to Healthy, Affordable Foods in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
In honor of the 4th anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative this week, we are reprinting a series of blog posts from the Lets Move! blog. Below is the second post in this series, and was written by L. Dennis Michael, the Mayor of the City of Rancho Cucamonga, California. As a Let’s Move!
City, Rancho Cucamonga, California is addressing health and wellness in a holistic and comprehensive way. The City Council incorporated Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) to be a part of Healthy Rancho Cucamonga (Healthy RC), a comprehensive, community-driven initiative dedicated to encouraging healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Through LMCTC, we are:
- developing policies, programs, and partnerships to encourage healthy, sustainable lifestyles;
- transforming the way Rancho Cucamonga does business by putting health at the forefront of every decision; and
- building a healthier community.
A mother educates her children on the importance of eating healthy.
One way Rancho Cucamonga is implementing our “Health-In-All-Policies” approach is through LMCTC Goal IV: Model Food Service, which focuses on improving access to healthy, affordable foods by implementing nutrition guidelines that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in city-owned or operated food venues.
In partnership with the community, we have implemented several key strategies to address and improve healthy food access. First, we implemented Rancho Cucamonga’s Healthy Food and Beverage Policy, which requires all city facilities to meet nutrition standards in city-owned and operated
Vending machines and any food provided by the city. Additionally, the city developed a toolkit for partner organizations to adopt similar policies in order to create consistent healthy messages throughout the community.
The city also works with local restaurants to increase access to healthier food when dining out.
The Healthy RC Dining Program collaborates with San Antonio Community Hospital’s Registered Dieticians to review restaurant menus and help develop and design healthier meal options for children and adults.
Since October 2012, 14 restaurants have joined the program, and it continues to grow. And last, Rancho Cucamonga modified zoning codes to expand the number of areas that allow for farmers’ markets, and as a result, two farmer’s markets were established bringing access to fresh, affordable, locally grown produce to residents.
Healthy Food and Beverage Campaign –At Rancho Cucamonga’s Preschool program, a healthy vending machine is stocked with healthy snacks, drinks and supplies geared for children.
In addition, the city implemented the “Bringing Health Home” program. This program provides residents with incentives (up to $50 a month match) to purchase healthy foods at farmers' markets. Rancho Cucamonga is excited to continue advancing LMCTC’s goals and building a healthier city! You can read more about our efforts here. Learn more about LMCTC, and how to become more involved with the initiative, here.