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Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch

CalFresh Healthy Living Integrated Work Plan (IWP) Activities in response to COVID-19

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recognizes that CDPH CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) funded Local Health Department (LHD) staff are currently working to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, implement work plan activities in a response-relevant and meaningful way, or some combination of both. 

In recognition of the challenges of continuing program implementation with social distancing and shelter-in-place requirements, this site serves as a resource for connecting IWP Blueprint Strategy/Sub-Strategy activities to potential CFHL COVID-19 response activities.  

This is meant to be a resource and is not a directive for specific work.  As appropriate based on the needs of your local jurisdictions, some of these ideas may be relevant – regardless of your current work plan activities. Local realities may call for varied work and response.  Please continue to communicate with your Project Officer as questions arise. This is list is not exhaustive, and suggestions for additions are welcome by emailing

Below you will find suggestions for modifying the IWP strategies and sub-strategies for COVID-19 response, online direct and indirect education resources, and links to relevant training recordings.  This page will be updated periodically.

In addition to resources provided on this site, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has acknowledged and suggested the following activities as possible ways to continue SNAP-Ed funded program work, as appropriate:
  • Online direct education 
  • Data entry or data cleaning
  • Future planning work
  • Writing up success stories

Quick Links

Healthy Eating IWP Activities

Providing CFHL services related to healthy eating is an essential and core element of our work. This page aims to provide resources that support food access and nutrition related topical activities that could be responsive to the specific IWP Blueprint Strategies, Sub-Strategies and Settings program work as well as be responsive to the COVID-19 response. Resources may be relevant to more than one topic area.

PSE Strategy: Nutrition Standards, Access to Healthy Food and Farmers Market Utilization

Sub-strategy: Nutrition Standards (all settings)

In response to COVID-19, nutrition standards work is more important than ever to ensure people in SNAP-Ed eligible communities receive foods that optimize their nutritional status. Even though USDA has allowed some flexibility with regard to school meal standards, LHD nutrition standards strategies can include guidance, access to resources and partnerships that to help schools to provide nutritious meals and snacks. Nutrition standards efforts can also focus on communications targeting individual home environments and supporting nutrition at home through online direct and indirect education.

Sub-strategy: Food Environment at the Market

As of March 26, 2020, California allows Farmers Markets to operate as an essential service.  Farmers’ Market work could include sharing health guidance and best practices with staff/subs working on Farmers Market activities, disseminating information to CalFresh Food partners and local farmers markets, and updating county/city websites with specific local guidance based on local policy related to COVID-19 and Farmers Markets.

Sub-strategy: Procurement 

In response to COVID-19, procurement activities could include connecting producers and distributors to food distribution sites (beyond traditional retail), focus on home environment in regards to food and nutrition by sharing content on safely accessing food, and/or build/maintain relationships with food producers (farms, local businesses) and aim to support their interest in getting food out into the community in health sensitive and timely manner.

Sub-strategy:  Nutrition Pantry Program

Sub-strategy: General Plans/Zoning

Some jurisdictions are considering changing zoning regulations to allow food to be grown in previously unallowable places.  This includes front yards and other places.  Activities related to zoning could include communicate with local planning staff and officials to discuss and determine need for more localized access to fresh food.  Discuss/plan options for allowing food production (and possibly sale) from new locations.

Sub-strategy: Gardens (and other agriculture)

Many are turning to local farms and gardens (community or otherwise) as a possible supply of food. Farms and food production are considered essential services, and can continue to operate while following proper social distancing, hygiene and cleaning/sanitizing guidelines.  UC ANR has resources on COVID-19, Urban Farms, and Food Safety. This site includes links to webinars, flyers and many other resources curated from across the country.  In response to COVID-19, garden activities could include connecting with farms, pantries, garden management, and market management to share information where needed, and being a local hub of information.  
In response to COVID-19, food access work could include Food Security call line staffing, pointing/referring people to resources and access points (CalFresh updates), and/or work with community, farmers and pantries/distribution sites to connect farm produce to those in need. It could include working with food system stakeholders to create new access points. In food distribution sites (emergency sites, food banks and pantries, and other food recovery efforts), in response to COVID-19, emergency food work could be applicable for those that are tasked with being responsive to food access needs in a variety of capacities.  LHD staff and partners can participate in trainings that support safe food recovery and service (this may also be beneficial beyond COVID-19 response).  Additional activities include coordinating with food distribution sites and supporting as needed. 

Other: Food Policy

Many communities are considering policies that support their residents' healthy eating access in response to COVID-19.  Many Food Policy Councils (FPCs) are connected with food stakeholders in the region and beyond.  Many are sending out comprehensive (as can be) email updates related to food access and security (and other food related content).  FPC activities could include maintain/establish relationship with FPC to provide timely information from the health department.  Share resources and sample communications (see Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food System Response to COVID-19 for various resources).  Be available as a partner and participate on calls to hear from food system stakeholders.

Possible Innovation Ideas

Sub-strategy: Local Agriculture and Jobs Development and Skill Building

This is sub-strategy is undeveloped at this point however there is potential to support food production, distribution and recovery during this unprecedented time.  
  • LHD Connection: Work will likely depend on local conditions but could include providing coordination support between farms/restaurants, funders, and food distribution sites, it could have an employment element if funds are available, training could be moved into a virtual format if appropriate, etc. 

Sub-strategy: Capacity Building for Food Distribution 

This sub-strategy was designed to specifically support Food Banks and Pantries shore up their physical infrastructure in their sites.  Possibilities to expand this sub-strategy to be beyond pantries/banks is possible.
  • LHD Connection: work will vary depending on local need but could include support on CSA distribution (coordination and information sharing) or other food distribution needs (examples include distribution direct from distributors, pop-up sites, etc.)
  • Training: See Procurement Sub-Strategy above for applicable trainings.

Active Living IWP Activities 

PSE Strategies: Active Transportation and Physical Activity

Providing CFHL services related to physical activity and active living is an essential and core element of our work. This aims to provide you resources that support physical activity and active living related activities that could be responsive to the specific IWP Blueprint Strategies, Sub-Strategies and Settings program work as well as be responsiveness to the COVID-19 response.

Sub-strategy: Physical Activity Opportunities

Many physical activity resources are being placed online with suggestions on how to implement when staying home.  Activities could include sharing resources and messages – targeted to varying ages and audiences – on how to stay physically active at home.  
  • Information: Examples of "Slow Street" policies that support physical activity while social distancing by closing streets to automobile traffic - see examples  from the City of Sacramento and Alameda County.

Sub-strategy: Parks 

California State Parks announced the launch of a new social media campaign titled “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” to remind the public to practice social distancing when visiting state parks or any outdoor area. The California Department of Parks and Recreation’s new social media campaign includes social media messages you can use.  The department also has a State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center.  Activities could include share information regarding PA in parks; work with public works and local jurisdiction to consider safe PA environments during shelter-in-place or social distancing requirements.

Sub-strategy: Safe Routes

The National Safe Routes Partnership is committed to updating their resources as the COVID-19 response continues.  Visit Safe Routes Partnership for information as time permits.  Recent blog posts (one and two) share resources for thinking about active living strategies during this time – they also deal with some challenges and how to balance benefits of PA with other community issues.  Activities could include ideas for short-term policies/programs that open certain streets for PA opportunities (car-free) while practicing social distancing.  Ideas for social media/communication sharing for specific PA resources (recess, PA for families, etc.).  Watch past webinars for future opportunities; maintain communications with partners.  

Sub-strategy: Active Transportation Policy Supports

The National Complete Streets Coalition is committed to advancing transportation systems that provide safe access for all users of all ages and abilities. The Complete Streets + COVID-19 map shares strategies communities are using to respond to the unique circumstances brought on by this pandemic.  LHDs can use this site to consider possible policy solutions to current health issues.

Sub-strategy: Water Access and Appeal 

CDC has information on COVID-19 transmission in water and staying hydrated.  In response to COVID-19, water access and appeal activities could when promoting water, share relevant information with community about facts regarding water; link to local water access and quality information.  Visit the CDC COVID-19 FAQ page and use the search term "water" to see guidance on water consumption and virus transmission.

Training Resources

Specific and Cross-Cutting Trainings

Specific training resources are embedded in the Sub-Strategies above if applicable.  Some trainings are cross-cutting and can be applied to work across strategies and settings. For more detailed information about the relevance of the trainings above and below click here.

Training Resources for CalFresh Healthy Living IWP COVID-19 Activities (PDF)

Communication and Messaging

Training: LIA Messaging (webinar)

Training: Breakthrough Messaging for SNAP-Ed LIAs (E-module)

Coordination and Collaboration

Training: Ignite! A Program to Support SNAP-Ed Coalition Coordinators


Training: County Health Ranking and Roadmaps: Assessing Needs & Resources

For a complete list of available trainings, visit the CalFresh Healthy Living Webinar Recording Archive.

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