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CEED@Chicago Food Equity Policy Standing Committee Meeting at Midwest Latino Health Research, Training & Policy Center 1640 W. Roosevelt Road Room 609

Tuesday, September 18

CEED@Chicago Health Literacy/CHW Monthly Committee at Midwest Latino Health Research, Training & Policy Center 1640 W. Roosevelt Road Room 609

Monday, September 24
9:30am - 11:30 am.

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Food Equity
Welcome to CEED@Chicago!
Written by Michael Aponte   

The Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities at Chicago (CEED@Chicago) welcomes you to learn about our goals and our work!


The goal of CEED@Chicago is to prevent and reduce the burden of diabetes and CVD among the Hispanic/Latino and African American populations in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area and eventually extending to the Midwest region and the United States. CEED@Chicago is building a multi-sector Coalition composed of businesses, institutions and individuals representing local government, health professionals, academic institutions, community and professional organizations, and community leaders all dedicated to changing social determinants that are needed to reach this goal.


The CEED@Chicago Coalition identified food equity and health literacy as our two policy priority areas. Our Food Equity Policy Committee has been focusing on policies that promote the local production and distribution of healthy food as well as policies that improve available data to make it easier to identify underserved communities. CEED@Chicago’s Health Literacy/Community Health Workers Policy Committee is working to increase information about healthy eating and physical activity to our communities through the services of community health workers.


CEED@Chicago members have access to training and technical assistance. They also have opportunities to promote their work and successes.


Learn more – and join us!

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:20
Food Equity Policy Committee PDF Print Email

The Food Equity Policy Committee has two main strategies:

  • CEED@Chicago works to improve the availability of fresh, healthy foods by identifying policy barriers to community-based agriculture and developing a technical assistance delivery program to educate planners and local officials about the importance of locally produced food.
  • CEED@Chicago is creating a database on food access in Chicago and across Illinois, including information on stores, emergency food providers, and need-based food assistance programs. This information will help coalition members, communities, and policy makers to assess and improve the availability of healthy food.
Background PDF Print Email

CEED@Chicago works towards the equitable distribution of food, as lack of access to healthy food can lead to health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.1 Areas with limited food access are referred to as “food deserts.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines food deserts as “areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.“2

550,000 Chicagoans live in food deserts; 75% of those in food deserts are African American.2 In addition Black neighborhoods have six times more fast food restaurants than white neighborhoods.3 

A news report on food deserts in Chicago neighborhoods and how they affect residents’ health


Chicago's Food Deserts Are Hazardous To Health:

CEED@Chicago recognizes urban agriculture as a strategy to provide healthy food in neighborhoods designated as “food deserts,” and aims to increase the local production of food in order to achieve the equitable distribution of food


The Growing Solution to Urban Food Deserts from Conscious Living TV on Vimeo.




  1. Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group (2010). Chicago Food Desert Boundaries & Community Areas Retail data current as of May 2010.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Food Deserts.
  3. Block, D., & Kouba, J. (2006). A comparison of the availability and affordability of a market basket in two communities in the Chicago area. Public Health Nutrition. 9: 837-845.

Planning Local Food Production for the Healthier Communities Technical Assistance Workshop Summer 2011 PDF Print Email

This summer, CEED@Chicago is teaming up with Chicago Metropolitan Agency and Evanston Food Policy Council for Planning to bring together planners and urban farmers for the Technical Assistance Workshop. This workshop will provide an opportunity for urban farmers, planners, and other interested individuals to learn about successfully navigating government policies that can hinder urban agriculture efforts. CEED@Chicago recognizes urban agriculture as a strategy to provide healthy food in neighborhoods with low access to healthy food and as economic and community development tools in those areas. For more information click here.

1_2012 FEPC Minutes PDF Print Email




CEED@Chicago Food Equity Policy Committee

1640 W. Roosevelt Rd, Rm 609, Chicago IL 60608

January 17, 2012

9:30 to 1:30 AM



Francisco Moreno (CEED@Chicago), Edie Heinemann(CEED@Chicago), Vanessa Salcedo (UIC-SPH student), Sheila Castillo, Jose Arrom (Volunteer, researcher), Leila Shasshoni (Faith in Place), Anna Barnes (CLOCC), Valerie Paurus, (Resurrection Project) Rosemary George (MLHRTPC), Liz Adetoro (UIC-SPH student), Stephen Kraus (CEED@Chicago), Lara Jaskiewicz (PHIMC), Sandra Streed (TBD), Danny Block (Chicago State University)

Meeting called to order 9:35am.

Data Information

Sheila began the meeting by opening up discussion around the data information table that has now been re-formatted and placed on the CEED@Chicago website. Using the SmartBoard Francisco opened this table, now referred to as the Data Attributes table. (Background: A draft of the “where to Find Food Access Information in Illinois” table which had been created from the Food Data Directory was passed out at the December meeting where there was a discussion about how it could be made most useful. The committee asked at that time that it be re-formated and placed on the website, which has been accomplished through the efforts of Francisco and Hong—CEED staff.) The “Where to Find Food Access Information in Illinois” was placed temporarily on the CEED@Chicago home page. There were some suggestions for title changes which included: “Food systems” or “Food Nutrition data”).

Within the table, each link can be opened, which brings you to a summary page (still in the CEED website) where you can find the instructions on how to use the website. Currently this link has the categories into which the food data would be placed, i.e. benchmarks or signposts for type of data one would be looking for. These “categories” resulted from conversations in earlier FEPC meetings where committee members named the types of food access information they wanted, e.g. “We want information on ‘food outlets’ or information on ‘vending machines’.

Then the link within this page takes you directly to the website where this data can be found. Instructions for how to navigate the website where the data is stored (when necessary) will be placed within the CEED home page file. Some websites are self-explanatory, others more complicated. Francisco will be going back in and adding websites that have been suggested by the committee as well as putting in information about how easy or hard it is to use the website.

At this point “Easy” means that you pretty much get what you see; “moderate” refers to perhaps a little more difficulty, i.e. it might require that you have a particular type of software in order to access it; “hard” would be that it’s deeply imbedded in the site and hard to get to and use. This is pretty subjective. Sheila suggested that others look through and try accessing the various sites and give Francisco their feedback on ease of use. Also to be added to the table is the geographic scope to the data.

The conversation at the last few meetings reflected everyone’s wishes that this table put up and running on the website and then adjustments can be made to it in response to committee feedback. Anna suggested a link to survey monkey where you can ask folks who use the website what they thought about it in view of difficulty. Another idea was to create a pop-up that would appear prior to getting to the page where person can identify him/herself. In this way use can be tracked, either by zip code or something equally as anonymous.

Francisco then showed the “Request for Link’s” inclusion form on CEED@Chicago’s Website and asked for feedback on how to make this more clear. Suggestions: “Production” is missing as an element of the food system; move the food system data categories to top of the page. The label “Food Access” Data categories” should be changed to either “food data” or “data categories”. Put production into the list, i.e. following “What element of the food system should be covered,” put in the five elements of food system and an “other” category. Goal is to make this form interactive.

Aside: LISC is a funding initiative website but does not have data (Francisco opened this for the group and it was confirmed that is not appropriate).

Further feedback on Link Inclusion form included:

Instead of “description”, include “data set” available, to find out what you can get at that site, in case there may be multiple data sets at the website. Rosemary asked if this table could be generalized to include links that may come in from people who are doing work related to what CEED is doing. Sheila responded that this hasn’t been thought about yet, but will be taken into consideration.

Jose made the point that when indicating “accessibility” of the data, it may be accessible only as a publication or through use of an application or upon request.  Clarification: are you suggesting that we can download the document?   No, insert instructions on the process for accessing the data, e.g. Is it on line? Do you need an FOIA form? Etc.   Add also, if the website is free or not and whether or not the data is free. Being free doesn’t not necessarily mean easily accessible.   These are just some of the things that need to be clarified.

Include “name” of the database.

Francisco asked the group to help make a list of criteria we might ask people to look at before suggesting website, so we are not overwhelmed with an over-abundance of websites that are irrelevant.

Rosemary asked if this can be more generally linked to information on CEED’s website ????

Insert “data” where you have “website.”

Sheila: the original intent of the committee was interest in Illinois. Would it be more useful to refer to the metropolitan region? (i.e. adding Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana). The general consensus was that we are not limiting this just to Illinois. It may depend on what’s available on the websites.

Anna: it’s hard to see what was intended when you look at the categories.

Sheila explained the original intent was to send general information on food access to members of the general assembly as they are thinking about the Fresh Food Fund.

It was noted that the categories needed to be reviewed to be sure they describe the data accurately. They should be written explicitly: “These categories of food data” are available. . . stating the purpose for making this data available up front—how will it help people? The original purpose of this project was to paint the picture of food access in Illinois, showing the areas that are already covered.   On the website and on the feedback form there will be a brief explanation on what this is for and then the checklist will be all the items that were on the wish list.

The question on the intake form should be clarified to read: “Does the data include information on one of these “categories” and then a place (line or box in front of each category) set for respondents to check the category the data pertains to.

Discussion followed on whether or not to include the word ”Access” in Food Access data heading. Food data alone broadens the type of data you will get. Access crosses two elements of the system: production and distribution. . . It’s an important goal of CEED to improve access to healthy food. To some using the word access in the heading leads them to places that provide emergency food resources as well as grocery stores or farmers’ markets. What about local production?

It was reiterated that the criteria for additional data sets should indicate that the data address an item from the wish list and pertain to the Chicago region. There will be a brief explanation of what this data is for and we’ll include the wish list categories that will clarify what is being offered. Rosemary: we shouldn’t limit it—people are doing a lot of interesting things around the country that would inform everyone’s work. This was agreed to and it was further noted that as the chart gets larger it can be broken down (or sorted) according to national and regional and local areas. Don’t have to limit it now. It could be a national data base but needs to include you information for the local Chicago region.

It was explained that in the column that says geographic “scale” one might get a national view of “every” county the U.S. but would also be able to access local county information. To reinterate: it can be a national database but may or may not include one’s specific locality.

Actions agreed upon: Create mission statement at beginning; change to “data fields” included in each data base; clean up the categories: any new link needs to fit into one of categories

The screening mechanism for new data base submissions should be that it needs to fit into the wish list category. At this point there will be no geographic restrictions on the site offered.

A review of how the information is set up on the CEED@Chicago website was completed. Again: this is going to be updated and revised. Point was to get it up and running so everyone can add to it . . . by using the feedback form.

The request form is for outside people to give suggestions to add. We will sort as the food table evolves. There will be a data committee meeting in near future to review it. Francisco stated once again that it would be very helpful for everyone to go through the links and give suggestions to him about anything that works or doesn’t work for them. Francisco’s email address is: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Food Researchers Discussion:

At the meeting in November there was a list of researchers reviewed. This was a companion piece to the data table. The idea was to include work that was being done in Illinois around food access that may involve mapping–what areas of the state were being mapped and what was being mapped in order to see what part of the state is being ignored. We wanted to be able to see what would be useful to policymakers to influence policy around food systems at the state level. We generated a list of researchers—a long while ago. In November it was pointed out that there were members on the committee that were not even added to our original list of researchers. We went back and created a list of committee members (this was brought up on the Smart Board to show meeting participants).

Question today: who else do we need to think about to add to the researchers list: what other researchers do we need to think about and what criteria do we want to address in order to add people to the list? Sheila went down list: Stephanie Cwik, Bill Kling, Angela Odoms-Young, Curt Winkle, etc. Add Lara Jaskiewicz to this list.

A discussion followed regarding what the criteria should be to add names to the list. Some points that were added are:

  • Are they doing research on food systems?
  • What do we know about food in Illinois?
  • We need to do an updated literature review on research about food “of” Illinois.
  • Have they conducted a study, either qualitative or quantitative related to food system on the State of Illinois?
  • What aspects of the food system do we want to go beyond: planning studies? Land-use? 5 elements plus land-use? Yes. Include 5 elements of food system + planning + land-use.
  • Do we want climate change that affects Illinois? Probably not.
  • People looking at financing aspect of food systems in Illinois? This is important—a huge issue to begin a farm, expand a farm: Sandra Steed is doing this (association of small bankers going local; there are resources )—financing makes sense; Put in financing.
  • Not as much about capturing local researchers as to capture Illinois data.
  • Researchers who are not in Illinois and do nationwide trends that include Illinois (if they pull out the Illinois data) should also be included.
  • The kind of data needs to be relevant locally as well.

It was also noted that it was the original intention to build up a network of researchers in Illinois doing work on food. We talked about creating a network of researchers. . . but haven’t done this. Is there a way to do this within the 8 remaining months we have? The purpose was to: share data, share general information. Danny noted that researchers get together at conferences, or around projects. . . where there is a need, often an urgent need. The only other time would be “happy hour” type events, but it usually involves a speaker that relates to their areas of interest. Many of the researchers are here at UIC and other networking would be bringing in folks from U of C and NU who may be un-networked researchers.   There is a network of food educators and experts that already exist and we would end up paralleling them. CPBR and Local Network. It was agreed by the committee that it’s a good goal. . . it could take the form of a one day meeting with speakers; or there could be a project if there were a Grant Project that CEED is thinking about. There are conference grants that could involve people together over a series of meetings; or we could have some sort of monthly thing that s a monthly speaker.

There are food historians, culinary experts—who meet monthly at History museum and they have speakers on different ethnic food. There are CPBR end which Angela Odoms-Young is a part of; but there isn’t anything between these two extremes. A lot of us know each other already. It would be nice but Danny isn’t sure that it’s needed. If it could be done well it would be used. It would have to go beyond the usual suspects. It would include grad students (There’s a group Chicago Food System Research Group – not associated with Hull House. They are going to have a symposium this spring. Sheila asked Lara to send us some things. Jose will send Sheila some things. Jose: the group meeting on the East Side. Re-thinking Soup is another group. It would be helpful to find this group to help fill out this list. Danny suggested that it might be a matter of coordinating the group.

Stephen reflected that if we are going to start a group it would be much more useful and interesting to NGOs and graduate students who would need to find the data, they would have limited access to the data. The professional researchers themselves often get enough money to collect their own data or have the connections to get it.

The committee suggested that we continue to pursue the research piece by: 1) What is the information we are looking for; 2) doing a literature search on as much as we can find; 3) send it to the researcher saying, “This is what we have about you—is it is all correct?”; “This is what we are trying to do; is there anything missing that you would like to add?”; “Would you be interested in participating in a new with other researchers, NGOs and graduate students to work on food issues? We could see where this takes us in September or past September.

One of the primary interests in identifying researchers was to see if there was anyone mapping data in Illinois to find out what is and what isn’t out there in Illinois.

Danny. There are grad students out there either doing mapping or are trying to do it but may not have professors in department what are specifically oriented around food issues. Danny thinks that food equity and broader food studies such as a local food association for the study of food in society group would be very useful.

By next meeting we hope to show some progress on the researcher piece. The criteria would include:

  1. Mapping; 2) Conducted studies in Illinois related to food; 3) They are Illinois researcher doing nationwide research on food but includes Illinois and 4) includes 5 elements of food system plus financing and planning.

Should we be looking at Illinois only or Chicago region—CMSA. We’ll revise as we see where it comes to us. We can’t get too specific at this point. We’ll start with CMSA and Illinois moving out toward “region” gradually.

Valerie Paurus has volunteered to follow up with the researcher project; starting with people who are on the committee. In response to her question about the five elements of the food system, it was reiterated that they are: production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste reduction/recycling.

Stephen asked if we want to include researchers who do cattle research? “Who is this for?” is the question that needs to be addressed. Jose mentioned Linda Van Horn, Anna Diez Rouz would also be someone who would be added to the list. . . We need to answer the question about how broad this list is to be. Danny doesn’t think it makes sense to go into the general production, agriculture literature unless it directly relates to urban agriculture. It would be too huge. Everybody at the college of agriculture would be included. It should include the food system as it relates to food equity, food access and health.

What about food safety: it happens throughout the food system. It is an important part of public health. Danny: as it relates to the food system as a whole; more specific or micro level—no. Aspects of food safety will come up. Think about the food cottage bill: there was pushback at public health agencies because of food safety concerns. We’re thinking urban agriculture, food systems, food as related to public health (not looking at food on the scale of UIUC). Food equity, food access, food systems as related to public health and planning. Looking at micro issues as only they impact the system level. It’s hard to see where the line is drawn. Nutrient studies as they pertain to health may be too specific, but as it relates to the systemic/policy level would be accepted. . . -- we will review all this as it emerges.

We need to create a format that we can send to Danny and Angela and Lara to ask if they can . . .

Danny, can we contact the people we have mentioned previously to see if we want to do this citywide, e.g. Rethinking Soup is Tuesdays; Brown Bags is the Chicago Area Food Working Group—per Lara: Susan Levine is the Director of the Institute for the Humanities (UIC) under which the Chicago Area Food Working Group is organized..   Came out on the CFPAC listsrv last week.

Quick wrap-up on Regional Food system policy discussion . . . how to keep the CEED work going. The overarching function CEED@Chicago could serve would be as a clearinghouse which intersects what we are talking about here today which involves bringing together the information but also trying to coordinate the work that various groups are doing around food at the regional level—this is a real contribution we can make.

Comment Rosemary made about expanding the information to include CHWs and their activities. . . we are moving into the direction of at least trying to get information out.

As a result of the data base piece we talked with FORWARD –anti-obesity group working with DuPage Public Health Department—we are trying to figure out a way to coordinate a way to increase access to healthy food out there; here is the opportunity to actively link groups working on access to healthy food access around the research. We will start to participate in meetings with them. There is interest and opportunity to connect with similar groups in the region. We are talking about clearinghouse but this is also an opportunity to actively link what we have been doing with other groups that are interested in our work. A portal is a way to connect the websites to each other. However, this is already contained in the clearinghouse function.

Danny mentioned that the Regional Food Council plan mentioned in the GoTo 2040 plan isn’t really generating a lot of excitement. Then there is CMAP is supporting different county plans. Is there a way to integrate these efforts? Sheila responded: Think about CEED is that we don’t have any boundaries. If there is a place where we can bring together different counties—at this point not sure how that would work. . . These are all ideas, but nothing is solid right now. Making connections with Public Health Departments looking at food may be the best way to go, but also is uncertain. We’d like to get something started that works regionally.

Announcements: Update on County’s Food Council: the Cook County food system assessment report is in draft form going through internal review and will return to committee for additional changes. A good draft of the ordinance is being set up for the Cook County Food Policy. Still adjusting it, hopefully no more major changes—it’s almost ready to go. Hoping to get it submitted next month --- to the County president’s office. A lot of voices are included in this. What is needed: need a showing a numbers of the Steering committee.

Danny Block: will talk with Sheila and Stephen about article process of data questions placed on the sanitarian’s review. May need to cut out his section if Dr. Lohff can’t make his deadline by this Friday.

Sandra: Fresh Food Fund –administration agreement is supposed to be signed shortly. Sandra has been working on the food deserts and access--waiting to get ready to start 5 stores in the southern and western parts of the states. Sandra will send Sheila the maps. There’s a lot of good data on the TR Fund data map. This should go on our table. Sandra will talk with us further about how to get data on a policy map. Jose will also send Francisco a link to some good policy states.

Resurrection project is building a new dormitory for first time college students.

Faith in Place: workshops are starting up. – listen to tape. Doing some advocacy on part of their farmers. Doing some policy work.


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