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Mission: Building healthy, equitable communities for all who live, work, play and age in Somerville through multi-sector partnerships, programming, practices, and policies related to food systems and active living.
How we do that: Community-level approaches to improving food access and safe mobility and active play.
We have updated our name to reflect the evolution of our work! Shape Up Somerville (SUS) is nationally and internationally recognized for its groundbreaking work and galvanized the Mayor to champion bold action and data driven policies to build a healthier & more equitable community. It was the first community-based environmental approach research study to address the rising rates of childhood obesity in the early 2000’s. The study and the work that ensued afterwards was made possible by the collaborative and foundational efforts of community-based organizations and partners, Dr. Chris Economos and her team at Tufts University, and the administration of Mayor Joe Curtatone.
Since its inception, both the SUS office and the greater field have grown to understand the deep systemic roots of obesity and thus have aimed to change the work of promoting holistic health and wellbeing from targeting the individual to targeting environments, systems and policies.
This office spends a lot of time working on food systems issues to achieve health equity given the strong connection between community level food access and health outcomes. However, there’s a complex intersection of several drivers of health such as safe, walkable neighborhoods, green spaces, access to education and healthcare, and affordable housing. Therefore we’ve included “Healthy Communities” in our name to show our commitment and effort in cross-sector work to build healthier communities. This office will continue to remain fluid; backboning emerging work as appropriate and supporting other interdepartmental and community-based programmatic, policy and systems work to collectively improve health outcomes.
The new name and logo aims to reflect this interplay of factors. To remain consistent with the collective efforts behind SUS, community partners weighed in on the updated name and logo influencing the final product.
Monday - Wednesday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
50 Evergreen Ave.
Somerville, MA 02145
Learn about the Somerville food access landscape.
Find low cost, healthy food in Somerville.
Free rides to groceries and medical appointments for transit-dependent Somerville residents with limited incomes.
Bringing fresh, local produce to a neighborhood near you. This website has our hours, weekly produce offerings, and information on how to apply for food assistance benefits in Somerville.
Where else to find good food.
OFAHC co-leads the Safe Routes to School working group to help kids walk and bike safely to school.
OFAHC has completed a park evaluation to look at who’s using the parks for what types of activities. See the results of our evaluation.
Enjoying parks and open spaces improves physical and mental wellbeing for all ages. See how many of our parks you can visit!
A four-language map of all our parks, including park features.
Other ways to stay active and healthy.
Other Food Access Program Resources: Where else to find good food
Other Community Health Program Resources:
Learn More: Our work in Somerville is part of collective action at the local, state, and federal level.
OFAHC started as a city-academic partnership called Shape Up Somerville. Learn more about this initiative.
No we don't, and here's why: the Office of Food Access and Healthy Communities works to improve the environment we live in: rather than offering exercise classes, we work to make sure that everyone has access to safe active transit like well-maintained bike lanes and wide sidewalks; rather than offering nutrition lessons, we work to make sure that healthy food is affordable and accessible to all in Somerville, even if you don't have a car. However, we would be happy to connect you to places who do offer that programming! Check out our Ways to Get Going and Fresh & Local Food tabs for some of our favorite City resources.
The WHO defines the Social Determinants of Health as "conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries". This CDC infographic highlights how root factors such as income, education, safe neighborhoods and housing impact an individual's health.
Glad you asked! Right now, we regularly refer to readings on the MA Food System Collaborative website as well as Food Solutions New England’s 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. Also, read our Facebook and Twitter pages for some of our past favorites with commentary.
Visit the The Shape Up Somerville Story tab, which has all of our best background information. If you still have questions after you check out those resources, get in contact with us at the phone number or email provided above and we'll set up a time to meet.
Email us at OFAHC@somervillema.gov for volunteer and internship opportunities, or to learn more.
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