Healthy Waterville: Increasing Connectedness and Healthy Food for All

MeHAF’s Healthy Community initiative supports long-term, community-led efforts to improve health. Grantees have been charged with engaging people who are usually left out of planning processes in order to identify a priority health issue to address as a community and to employ collaborative processes to create comprehensive plans to integrate health, community-based services, and other sectors in such a way that they improve systems and community health. In the current implementation phase of this multi-year effort, 11 grantees are implementing their plans. Throughout, they have supported community-driven solutions to addressing barriers to health.

Healthy Waterville selected food insecurity and access to healthy foods as its primary health issue. Food insecurity affects low-income individuals and families of all ages. In Maine, an estimated 200,000 Mainers are food insecure. This case study describes how Waterville is approaching the issue of food insecurity. It describes the ways in which diverse organizational partners and community members are informing the design and direction of project activities, the progress they are making, the challenges they are facing, and the lessons they are learning along the way.