This brief reviews two options that come under the category of direct government involvement. Within this category, the type of involvement can vary from legislation mandating certain performance to prohibitory or restrictive policies. This paper will look at one of each that has recently been used in two cities in an attempt to improve the food insecurity issue in their respective communities. The first section will review the recently enacted Minneapolis ordinance that requires certain grocery stores to carry a minimum selection of perishable food items. The second section will examine prohibitory zoning ordinances, such as one recently passed in Los Angeles, that prohibit or restrict the number of fast food restaurants in select communities.
One approach to categorizing the different alternatives is by their level of government involvement, ranging from public policy options that would involve strict and direct government action in the form of legislation or ordinances (such as restrictive zoning measures excluding fast food restaurants) to minimal governmental involvement in the case of community gardens.
Another alternative to these governmental approaches is briefly presented in the final section. Some cities and counties are starting to include consideration of regional food systems in their comprehensive land planning process. The resulting strategies and plans incorporated by Madison, Wisconsin and Marin County, California, are reviewed and compared with the proposed plans for the Scott County, Minnesota 2030 Comprehensive Plan.