A Community Food Assessment (CFA) is a process involving data collection and analysis in collaboration with key stakeholders and community partners in local and healthy food access. A CFA identifies disparities in healthy food availability and accessibility in different areas or among different communities and populations. Food availability refers to the physical location and existence of healthy food in certain areas or in a store specifically. Food accessibility refers to a broader picture of cost, quality, or other socioeconomic barriers that may exist for some people in accessing healthy foods.
In 2018 the Maplewood Environmental and Natural Resources Commission partnered with Saint Paul-Ramsey County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) to create a CFA for the City of Maplewood. The assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses of the current food environment as well as gaps and disparities in accessing affordable and nutritious foods. A major aspect of a healthy community is access to healthy food, and there are a wide range of factors and barriers that might exist in creating food insecurity. The CFA highlights potential for providing equitable healthy food access for all members of the community.