Are there data to support your effort? Who are the groups or constituencies most impacted by the issue?
Data, along with framing and diverse stakeholder engagement (described below), are critical in making the case for your policy effort. Start by identifying the need in your region; reaching out to partners in the academic and research communities can help facilitate this data collection and presentation. Public and proprietary health data and supermarket and demographic data can also be collected or purchased from a variety of sources. Data tools and mapping can be used to help understand the key health, economic, geographic, and demographic dimensions of your local food system environment, and also to help make the case that your issue is important. These tools help to identify the key groups or constituencies—by race/ethnicity, income, gender, neighborhood, or other characteristics—who face the largest disparities in access, opportunity, optimal health, economic, and social outcomes. This information is critical to advancing equitable policy strategies, allowing for more targeted policies and approaches that can positively impact the communities facing the greatest need.
- Read the Limited Supermarket Access and PolicyMap Primer for a description of tools that allow you to map your community and to understand its healthy food retail needs.
- Go to the Research Your Community mapping tool to learn about your community’s food access landscape, using customizable data layers.
- Read the Food For Every Child mapping reports, such as this one on Georgia, for an overview of how to highlight need in a way that captures the attention of policymakers.
- Go to the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas, which maps a number of food access indicators by census track.
What is your messaging strategy?
Maps, data, and storytelling are most effective when they are used to build a clear and compelling story about the local food environment and the impact of successful efforts on communities. Communications strategies can bolster support for your work and raise awareness in the media and government communities. Consider the overarching narratives or stories you would like to convey, work with partners to gather these stories, and also consider the perspectives that may be needed to connect the issue to diverse audiences. Also consider key decision makers you are targeting for your campaign.