Policy Advocacy

Policy advocacy is an important component in ending food insecurity and improving the health of Worcester residents.  Hunger-Free & Healthy advocates for changes/additions to public policy at the local, state and federal level, as well as for changes in institutional policy that support our mission and goals.

Hunger-Free & Healthy 2011 Policy Priorities

Worcester Public Schools Wellness Policy

We call for the implementation of the Worcester Public Schools Wellness Policy, including monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the policy.  The Wellness Policy sets a framework for ensuring a healthy school food environment, including guidelines in relations to both the food environment and physical activity.  Though Worcester wrote a strong wellness policy in 2006, an implementation plan has never been developed.  Neither the school system nor the community has a clear idea of what has and has not been implemented, what the successes have been, nor what the barriers to full implementation are.  By establishing a clear system of implementation, monitoring and evaluation, we will better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the school environment in relation to supporting health and wellness.

Recess Before Lunch

We call for the Worcester Public Schools to support the voluntary implementation of holding the mid-day recess before lunch (as opposed to after lunch).  Holding recess before lunch has been shown to increase consumption of proteins and many vitamins and minerals.  Students are often more hungry after recess and are more focused on eating rather than on getting out to recess.  In a school district where 72% of students qualify for free or reduced price meals and therefore are at a higher risk of being food insecure,  it is important to ensure that students are eating adequate amounts of healthy foods.  Because the Worcester Public Schools meals are very healthy and wholesome, implementing recess before lunch is a strategy that could help increase consumption of the healthy, nutritious foods that students need to be better learners.


The Act FRESH Campaign is working to improve access to healthy, affordable food and safe public spaces for physical activity.  The campaign is led by a diverse group of Massachusetts Public Health Association member organizations – grassroots organizations and statewide associations from every region of the Commonwealth.  The Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council/Hunger-Free & Healthy is a part of the leadership team of this campaign.  The four-pronged campaign includes working to promote Zoning for Healthy Community Design, Access to Healthy Food Stores, Healthy School Food for Every Child, and Strong Physical Education Programs in Every School.  Within this campaign, Hunger-Free & Healthy will help lead the effort to ensure successful implementation of the new school food regulations.


An Act Relative To Foods Containing Artificial Trans Fats (H.1494/S.1154)  

We call for the passing of legislation at the State level that would ban the use of artificial trans fats in prepared foods sold and served in restaurants, fast food outlets, cafeterias, bakeries, mobile food trucks/carts, and other places where prepared foods are sold.   Artificial trans fats cause significant and serious lowering of HDL (good) cholesterol and a significant and serious increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol.  They are also directly connected to clogging of arteries, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health problems.  Most chain restaurants have eliminated the use of trans fats and cities and even states throughout the nation have banned their use.


2012 Farm Bill

We call for a fair Farm Bill that supports: 1.) Access to healthy food for all people, especially low-income and 2.) Strong infrastructure to support local and regional food systems. Supporting healthy food access for all includes: support for community-based agriculture across the urban-rural spectrum; support for Farm-to-School purchasing; protect SNAP from cuts and changes to its entitlement status; support for SNAP redemption at Farmers’ Markets; developing and implementing incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables through federal nutrition programs.  Supporting local food systems infrastructure includes technical assistance for local and regional food systems; Farm-to-Institution programs; support for Community Food Projects grants; protecting the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program; and support for local agriculture including specialty crops, dairy, and  livestock.

For more information, please contact Liz Sheehan Castro, Hunger-Free & Healthy Project Manager at hungerfree@worcesterfoodpolicy.org  or call  508-723-4550

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