Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge

Access to healthy and affordable food is a pressing issue for over 300,000 residents in Marion County. Indianapolis is ranked the worst in the nation for food deserts, and the closing of the Double 8 grocery stores in 2015 [and now Marsh in 2017] only heightened awareness of what was an existing issue.

Our initial 2017 challenge focused on this topic, asking: How might Indianapolis residents better access healthy and affordable food?

A wide diversity of voices came together to co-create solutions as we moved through a four-month innovation process led by our friends at Collabo Creative:

  • INQUIRE (February): Understanding the problem
  • IDEATE (March): Brainstorming ideas
  • INVESTIGATE (April): Turning ideas into solutions WITH doers
  • IMPACT (May): Preparing for implementation

Participation took place online and/or through meet-ups, as detailed on each of the tabs. You can listen to a discussion of the Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge on the WFYI No Limits Show and the Wit, Wisdom & Food podcast. The Indianapolis Business Journal also provided a summary of the efforts.

Want to get involved in future challenges? Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date. Questions? Comments? Contact Stephanie Fernhaber at [email protected].

Read more about the challenge goals and champions!

Thanks to our challenge sponsors:

Contributions So Far


  • Share Your Story

    What has been your experience with food accessibility? We want to hear about your success stories, improvised solutions as well as the major barriers.

  • Experience it

    Sometimes you can gain new insights through experience. We encourage you to drive through the east side of Indianapolis and stop by the food retail options that do exist. What do you observe? What do you hear? What do you feel?

  • Interview someone

    Do you know someone who has been impacted by this social issue? Or, do you know someone who is very knowledgeable about this industry? Interview them to find out their success stories, improvised solutions as well as the major barriers.

  • Local Initiatives

    Help us create a database of existing initiatives throughout Indianapolis that are targeted at addressing food access issues!