Collaboration Meets Opportunity: The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative


  • Raychel Santo Johns Hopkins University
  • Rachel Yong Acument, LLC
  • Anne Palmer Johns Hopkins University



Food Policy, Collaboration, Food Access, Local Government, Food System Mapping, Community Food Security


As cities across the nation seek to improve healthy food access, this participant observer case study highlights how one midsized city successfully developed a collaborative infrastructure to understand and address inequity in healthy food access. We trace the genesis and evolution of Baltimore's Food Policy Task Force, the hiring of a food policy director, and the establishment of the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative, which is an intergovernmental partnership to increase access to healthy, affordable foods in urban food deserts. While some cities have approached food access issues through community coalitions pressuring city government or government edicts, Baltimore successfully identified its need, used available research to drive and inform action, established priorities, and acted expeditiously with a focus on sustainability. This case study is relevant and applicable for those seeking to influence change in local food policy in midsized urban settings. 


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Author Biographies

Raychel Santo, Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University; 3400 North Charles Street; Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA.

Rachel Yong, Acument, LLC

Acumen, LLC; 500 Airport Boulevard, Suite 365; Burlingame, California 94010 USA.

Anne Palmer, Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Livable Future; 615 North Wolfe Street, Suite W7010; Baltimore, Maryland 21205 USA.



How to Cite

Santo, R., Yong, R., & Palmer, A. (2014). Collaboration Meets Opportunity: The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 4(3), 193–208.

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