Newsletter Contents
National Nutrition Month
HEAL Funding Opportunity
Spotlights of the Month
Tools & Resources
Funding Opportunities
About Us
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Happy National Nutrition Month 

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." 
- Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food

As we kick off National Nutrition Month, we're taking a moment to listen to a few simple words of advice from journalist and food writer Michael Pollan: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" may seem simple, but in a world of marketing, fad diets, and confusing nutrition advice, navigating a healthy diet isn't easy. With nutritional "experts" telling us to eat low carb, low fat, high fat, less meat, and more X, Y, Z.., it's no wonder that so many of us struggle to make healthy food choices.

Our food choices are influenced by myriad of social,  cultural, political, and environmental factors that impact what we feed ourselves and our families. One of the biggest impacts of poor diet are the "toxic food environments " that push junk food and other unhealthy options while making it harder to choose or access fresh, healthy food options.

This National Nutrition Month, we're encouraging  our HEAL policymakers to consider the toxic food environments that exist in your community. What are the barriers that limit your residents from making healthier food choices? Are there restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, or community gardens that help promote healthier food choices? Are there neighborhoods that have more or less access to healthy options? Understanding these environmental influences of health is an important step in addressing larger health consequences like obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.

As municipal staff and policymakers - your next step is to consider the policies and systems that could improve the food environments in your city or town. Learn about innovative best practices from other cities, towns, and counties that are improving the health of their residents and environment  through innovative policy changes. Get inspired by exploring this extensive Policy Database from the Healthy Food Policy Project. Another great resource from Growing Food Connections offers a Local Government Food Policy Database with searchable local public policies that support community food systems and public health.

Following the "Pollan Diet" - - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."   is challenging for all of us. From the donuts in the office break room to the lack of appealing fresh food options at our local corner store, we are all influenced by the environment in which we live, work, and play. This month, take time to help influence your environment. By placing a bowl of fruit next to the donuts or advancing a new policy, each of us can help foster an environment where healthy choices are the easy choices. 

HEAL Implementation Grants Reminder
The HEAL Campaign is still  accepting  applications for the 2019 Implementation Grants Program. Send us your proposals by March 15th (Friday) for a chance to   obtain new resources to help residents and municipal employees eat healthier and move more. 

The grant program will provide 4-10 small grants, totaling $40,000, to support the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign's goal to support local leaders' efforts to create healthy, prosperous community environments where all residents and employees can eat better and move more. These grants are intended to provide resources for current HEAL Campaign member cities and towns to im plement an adopted HEAL policy in their community and increase access to nutritious food choices and opportunities for physical activity. 

Please note all upcoming dates: 
  • February 15, 2019 - Grant Application released
  • February 28, 2019 - RFP Informational Webinar
  • March 15, 2019 - Grant Application due by midnight ET
  • Early April 2019 - Grant decisions announced
  • January 15, 2020 - Grant project end date
For more information and to download the RFP, please visit our website at  For any remaining questions, please contact HEAL Campaign Manager Sydney Daigle at

Spotlight of the Month | Frederick, Maryland
T his month we are reissuing our Spotlight feature on the City of Frederick. By incorporating the HEAL Resolution into the City's Sustainability Plan, Frederick has made significant progress implementing new HEAL policies and practices. Read how this City passed a Complete Streets policy and developed a shared-use bike and ped estrian path. Read the article here.

Interested in having your city or town featured in an upcoming Spotlight article? Please send a request to Julia Groenfeldt, HEAL Program Associate, at   or 202-747-3455.   
Tools and Resources
Webinar | Stronger Together: Partnering with the Disability Rights Movement -   This webinar from America Walks will explore the potential partnerships between walkability advocates and the disability rights movement. Learn new tools and resources to help you implement these best practices in your community. The webinar will be held on March 13th at 2 PM EST. Register for the webinar here.
HEAL Article | Healthier Meals for a Thriving Community - The most recent edition of the Virginia Municipal League Magazine Virginia Town & City features an article from our very own HEAL Campaign Manager Sydney Daigle. This article features information and best practices for how municipalities can leverage food procurement dollars to support healthier diets, economies, and environments. Read the article here
Report | The 2018 Benchmarking Report on Bicycling and Walking -  This is the sixth edition of the annual Benchmarking Report on Bicycling and Walking by the League of American Bicyclists. The nearly 400-page report contains graphs, maps, and tables touching nearly every topic related to bicycling and walking in the United States. The report reveals a need for further advocacy and leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to address bike safety in cities, towns, and communities throughout the county. Click here to access the report. 
Funding Opportunities 
AARP Community Challenge -   The AARP is accepting applications for quick-action projects that can help your community become more livable. Applications are now being accepted for small grants to improve housing, transportation, public space, smart cities, and other community elements. The grant program is open to nonprofits, government entities, and other types of organizations on a case-by-case basis.  Applications are due by April 17, 2019, 11:59 pm (ET).  All projects must be completed by November 4, 2019. Find more information here.

About Us
HEAL is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation in  partnership with the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues and funded by Kaiser Permanente, founding partner.

For more information on the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign, p lease visit the website at or contact HEAL Campaign Associate, Julia Groenfeldt at
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