Office of Planning

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Food Policy

Food Policy Background
District residents interact with the food system every day in a variety of ways. Typically, that means shopping at a grocery or corner store, visiting a farmers market, grabbing a bite to eat at a food truck or restaurant, or gardening in their backyard, school, and community gardens. District residents also work in the local food economy, participate in federal and local nutrition programs, and rely on meals served at schools, recreation centers, senior centers, and hospitals. The Office of Planning Food Policy Division researches and plans for land use policy to strengthen the food system with a focus on food access and affordability, health, economic development, and sustainability. One of the key results of this work is the Mayor’s Comprehensive Plan Update, which was approved this summer by the Council, and included critical language around food systems and health equity. This update connects these systems to others like transportation, environment, economy, and housing, to ensure that our work across systems is supportive of our goals around equity, vibrance, health, and sustainability. 
The OP Food Policy Division works with agency partners, non-profits, private companies, and residents to address systemic inequities in the food system and create a more vibrant city for all. The Food Policy Division has worked to leverage workforce development as a pathway to economic prosperity; promotes opportunities to build facilities to expand healthy food access, host job training, incubate local food businesses; and combats health and food security inequities. Recent accomplishments include: 
  1. Leading the DC Food Policy Council (meetings open to the public); 
  1. Establishment of the Nourish DC Fund in partnership with DMPED;  
  1. Supporting the work of Emergency Operations Center during the COVID-19 public health emergency by setting up the District’s emergency food programs, including the GetHelp Hotline, which delivered free, shelf-stable groceries and other supplies to residents instructed to quarantine at home by a healthcare provider from April 2020 – June 2021, and the grocery distribution program, which provided an estimated one million pounds of fresh food to residents from April-October of 2020 at 13 sites; 
  1. Establishing the OP farmers market waiver program that enabled 40 DC farmers markets to safely operate in 2020 and 2021, providing fresh, local food to residents across the District and enabling residents to use federal and local food assistance programs at farmers markets; and  
  1. Collaborating with agency partners to support food systems workers, residents, and businesses through the public health emergency and reopening of the city.