Studying Food Security Along Buford Highway Corridor

Open Hand Atlanta recently completed a study that provides policy and program recommendations that support healthy food access for the residents along the Buford Highway corridor. As a result, the City of Chamblee incorporated the findings into the city’s Comprehensive Plan: a huge win in support of our neighbors gaining more equitable access to nutritious foods.

Community partner the Latin American Association reached out to Open Hand back in 2019, concerned that the Latinx community along the Buford Highway corridor—stretching from the City of Brookhaven through Chamblee and up to the City of Doraville—were having issues accessing healthy food. We then worked with the City of Chamblee and other key partner organizations to design and conduct a study to assess local Latinx food security.

The study indicated that much of the growing Latinx community in this area does indeed face food insecurity — a term long used to identify where “all people, at all times, [do not] have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”* In a survey, over two-thirds of respondents in this community were worried in the past year whether their food would run out before they received money to buy more.

The study recommendations—as adopted by the City of Chamblee—require that the city:

  • reviews codes that currently act as barriers to community gardens
  • creates land use and development incentives for healthy food uses
  • develops Spanish-speaking outreach programs to promote community participation

After the Buford Highway Assessment was completed, the City of Chamblee applied for (and won) grant funding to teach gardening education classes in Spanish. Several other organizations have been able to apply for program funding as a result of this study as well.

At Open Hand Atlanta, we believe in providing nutrition for all. However, we also recognize there are often a plethora of barriers that exist – particularly when it comes to underserved populations. To create equitable access to nutritious foods, we are committed to expanding our partnerships with the community to better identify these issues and work collaboratively to help create sustainable solutions.

Thank you to Mercy Care, Atlanta Region Commission (ARC), Common Market, the City of Chamblee, the City of Brookhaven, USDA, GA SNAP Ed (DFCS), Wholesome Wave Georgia, the Latin American Association, and all our other partners that made this study possible. You can read the entire study here.

*Source: UN Committee on World Food Security (2001)

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