Garden Steps

Man watering a community garden, Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge Runner Up logo

NEWS UPDATE: Hillsborough County is a Tier 2 Runner-Up of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge.

Recognition: The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization has created a web-based Health Atlas of Hillsborough County, mapping health and transportation indicators to identify gaps in food access and walkability.     

Location: Hillsborough County, Florida, population 1.349 million

The Problem: The city of Tampa has been ranked poorly on the food environment index and has received a low Walk Score.

Kids hold up carrots Kids plant vegetables

Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Approach: Health is being recognized as an emerging focus area for Metropolitan Planning for Transportation, or MPOs. The project has identified food deserts and walkability as two of the city’s biggest problems. In order to address these concerns, the project has proposed creating community gardens with easy pedestrian and bicycle access in identified food deserts. The goal is to improve health equity and population health by increasing easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The Hillsborough County MPO aims to be a model for the other 26 Florida MPOs and will target the city of Tampa, which is the largest city in Hillsborough County and is the third most populous city in Florida.   

woman in garden  volunteers working in garden