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Food Access in Boston

As suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy food environment is vital for public health (CDC, 2010). Limited access to nutritious food can be a contributor to obesity, chronic disease and poor nutrition. Here is the story about the Vital Village Network Food Access Community Workgroup.

Workgroup Mission: Empower residents of Roxbury to find easily accessible, low-cost, high-quality food options in their neighborhoods by creating a product that will help individuals locate and assess the quality of local food resources

Partners: Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Mayor’s Office of Food Access, Madison Park Development Corporation, Greater Boston Food Bank, Project Bread, local university and graduate school students, among others.

Process: The workgroup began with conversations. There were discussions and brainstorming on how to tackle this large problem of food insecurity in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. With Vital Village providing data support and mapping, the group decided creating an interactive map to help community members find nearby resources was the most effective and user-friendly approach. The map would be housed on the Vital Village Data Dashboard.


Updates: the food resource map below shares locations that are currently open during the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Boston (August, 2020). More comprehensive food resources including operating hours and other information are shared through our food access app, Abundance Boston ( that is regularly updated. The pre-pandemic food resources included categories of (a) Farmers Markets, (b) Fruit & Veg Pick-up Sites, (c) Senior Dining Sites, (d) Supermarkets and Grocery Store, and (e) Food Pantries and Meal Programs. After the COVID-19 pandemic passes, we plan to bring back the regular categories of food resources (some of which cover the Greater Boston area). 

Data sourceU.S. Census Bureau, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates; Boston Mayor's Office of Food Access and Greater Boston Food Bank; See layer notes for details. 

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