Event: Food Access and Affordability

Farmer's Market in Lynn, MA

Tuesday, August 24

11am PDT/12pm MDT/1pm CST/2pm EST

This event is open to all mayors and city staff.

Register Now!

Access to abundant safe, affordable, and nutritious food is a significant challenge to infant and maternal health. Pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers get more than 50% of their total daily exposure to organophosphate pesticides — one of the neurotoxins with the strongest link to harming babies’ brain development — from pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. And many of our cities have hidden dangers in the form of old housing stock, which makes many soils susceptible to unsafe lead levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified food access and affordability challenges, disproportionately impacting low income, Black and brown, and immigrant communities and exacerbating existing health disparities. We are excited to feature cities that have created innovative solutions to food access and affordability issues, engaging residents and collaborating across city departments and with local partners to improve children’s health. 


Mayor Marita Garrett, Wilkinsburg, PA

Mayor Marita Garrett will discuss the city’s “Healthy Babies Zone,” which engages the community across multiple sectors that align with the social determinants of health, streamlining collaboration of local health service providers and community support services.

Mayor Kim Driscoll, Salem, MA

Mayor Kim Driscoll, Salem MA will discuss Salem’s mobile market pilot, a part of the city’s Mack Park Food Farm project. This city park has been transformed into a vegetable farm and food forest that has to date provided more than 7,000 pounds of fresh produce to Salem residents. The mobile market pilot has distributed that produce to three areas in the city with low access to fresh foods, and the project has engaged more than 100 resident volunteers.

Debbie Lyons, Director, Salt Lake City Department of Sustainability

Debbie will share information about the city’s innovative, community-driven approach to informing food policy. The city’s goal in launching its Resident Equity Food Advisors pilot program in 2020 was to create an equitable community food system that increases access to healthy, organic, and culturally relevant foods for historically underrepresented and underserved communities.

Charlotte Brody, Program Director, Healthy Babies Bright Futures

Charlotte is a registered nurse, the mother of two sons, and vice president for Health Initiatives of the BlueGreen Alliance. She has led a Planned Parenthood affiliate and been among the founders of the Brown Lung Association, Health Care Without Harm, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Green for All and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Charlotte previously served as the Executive Director of Commonweal, and a founder and Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm.