Wilkes County, North Carolina

North Carolina map pinpointing Wilkes County and The Health Foundation, Inc.

: 68,557
Project focus: Access to foods that support healthy eating patterns


  • Engage the community to develop policy, system, and environmental changes needed to enhance healthful eating 
  • Remove barriers that prohibit people from accessing healthy foods including transportation, cost, and knowledge of food preparation 

Approaches and Partners
The Wilkes County, North Carolina, project team believes that every child and adult deserves to be healthy, safe and able to thrive. The Health Foundation, Inc., with Wilkes Health and Wilkes Community Partnership for Children, formed the Wilkes Healthy Action Team to address their community’s health and safety needs through cross-sector, community-informed work. The project team used a human-centered design framework to learn from residents impacted by food insecurity and create prototype projects to address local health challenges. Their framework enabled their project team to build on the existing skills and knowledge of their community and encouraged leadership among residents.

Successes (as of September 2022)
Together, they built out a diverse coalition to create programs that address food access, reduce barriers to foods that promote health and meet people where they gather or live. They also expanded their approach and developed novel strategies to expand their mobile market, provide and enhance food benefits and address the food needs in childcare centers.

During their final reporting period, the project team developed a food asset map for their partners to better see the food system and connect community members to food resources. The team also successfully held a grower/buyer networking event at a local restaurant where Wilkes growers and buyers were able to build relationships and discuss business opportunities. One transformative conversation at that event has led their local community college to open their culinary arts kitchen to the public starting in 2023. 

Snapshot 1 (July - December 2020) | Snapshot 2 (January - June 2021) | Snapshot 3 (July - December 2021)


Check out NACo's interviews with each of the the 10 county-based teams, including Wilkes County.

Watch webinars on the latest science

COVID-19 Conversations APHA National Academy of Medicine