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Community Food Assessment

The purpose of a community food assessment (CFA) is to determine the locations and incidence of food deserts—that is, areas with limited healthy and fresh food access—and inform decision makers of those areas that need intervention. Some resources include:

Resource Library/ White Papers

Healthier Food Retail: Beginning the Assessement Process in your State or Community [PDF - 522 KB]
The CDC fact sheet provides data sources for helping states and communities understand their food retail environment.

A Guide to Community Food Assessment. Available at:

The USDA published the Community Food Assessment Toolkit, which provides a series of standardized measurement tools for assessing food security within a community. Available at:

The Food Security Learning Center with World Hunger Year is an advocate for innovative, community based solutions to hunger and poverty. The Center provides information on community food security strategies such as CFAs and community supported agriculture program assessments (CSAs), community gardens, Food Policy Councils, and land use planning. Available at:

The State of Michigan produced The Nutrition Environment Assessment Tool (NEAT) as an online evaluation of a community’s environment and nutrition policies relative to healthy eating and produce accessibility. Available at:

Journal Articles

Glanz et al. Healthy nutrition environments: concepts and measures. Am J Health Promotion 2005;19(5):330–3, ii.

Hosler AS, Rajulu DT, Fredrick BL, Ronsani AE. Assessing retail fruit and vegetable availability in urban and rural underserved communities. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(4). Available at;

McCullum C, et al. Evidence-based strategies to build community food security. Journal of the American Dietetic Association Feb 2005;278–83.

Pothukuchi K. Community food assessment: a first step in planning for community food security. Journal of Planning Education and Research 2004;23:356–77.

Whelan A, Wrigley N, Warm D, and Cannings E. Life in a “food desert.” Urban Studies 2002;39(11):2083–100.

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