Food Systems

Food Systems: Healthy Food, Healthy Communities


Many Maricopa County residents, especially children, have limited access to healthy, affordable foods and beverages. Limited access to nutritious food can result in poor health. Studies have found that low-income and underserved communities often have limited access to stores that sell healthy food, especially high-quality fruits and vegetables. The Food Systems team in the Office of Community Health Innovation is working to address this issue in coordination with planners, local government officials, food retailers, food policy councils and other stakeholders to ensure a healthy food environment in our community.

Maricopa County Food System Coalition
Mother and Son Picking Out Produce
  1. Healthy Retail
  2. Farmers’ Markets
  3. Gardens
  4. Farm to School

Healthy Retail


The purpose of the healthy food retail initiative is to increase community access to affordable, healthy foods and promote nutritious foods in small - and large-scale food outlets. Through this initiative, our goal is to strengthen local businesses and promote healthier, more equitable communities in Maricopa County. Our team provides technical assistance and promotional activities, including:

Small Food Retailers / Convenience Stores


  • Facilitate customer and community surveys to identify preferences for healthier food items
  • Market and promote healthy food items
  • Assist with produce handling and food safety
  • Organize promotional events to highlight healthy store changes
  • Provide healthy food/beverage demonstrations
  • Connect storeowners with local produce growers and food distributors
  • Connect storeowners to small business development resources and training
  • Assist with SNAP and WIC application process

Grocery Stores


  • Market and promote healthy food items
  • Provide healthy food/beverage demonstrations
  • Conduct store tours