Baltimore Food Policy Initiative – Baltimore, USA

Key Insights

  • Inter-departmental cooperation
  • Comprehensive strategies for affordable healthy food
  • Incorporating food into plans and policies


Baltimore recognised that food is a complex issue that touches on the work of many city departments but does not fit squarely into the remit of any one. In 2010 it launched the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative, an inter-departmental collaboration to ensure coordinated, comprehensive strategies to increase access to healthy, affordable food. The initiative, which has a staff of five spread over partner departments, has led several departments to address food access, each drawing on its own expertise and instruments.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

View of Baltimore (USA), Shutterstock/FloridaStock

The action and its aims

The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative (BFPI) is an inter-departmental collaboration within Baltimore City Council that exists to create comprehensive strategies to increase access to healthy, affordable food, and to implement programmes and policies.

Why it was needed

The rationale behind it is that food is such a complex, multifaceted issue that it does not fit squarely within the remit of any one department. This means that departments need to work together to ensure a coordinated approach.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The BFPI began in 2010, following publication of the Baltimore Food Policy Task Force final report that shone a spotlight on food access in the city. It is led by the Food Policy Director and has a staff of five, distributed across the partner departments/offices. The departments involved are the Department of Planning, the Office of Sustainability, Baltimore City Health Department, and Baltimore Development Corporation. Other departments contribute on an ad hoc basis.

Outcome/how it strengthened coordination

The partner departments have each led on work to address food access through their own lens or drawing on their expertise. For example, the Department of Planning has incorporated food into various plans and policies; the Baltimore City Health Department leads on community-based food access programming in an effort for all residents to be able to realise their health potential.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Food System

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food.

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