Did you Know?

In Marin County, 1 in 5 residents is at risk of food insecurity.

One of the key issues driving disparities in Marin is food insecurity. The county’s lowest income communities are less likely to be able to access and afford quality foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, putting them at greatest risk for hunger and chronic disease.

What is HEAL?

The County of Marin Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened leaders from throughout the County in Spring 2012 and created Marin's first coordinated, countywide Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Strategic Framework. The HEAL Strategic Framework aims to strengthen partnerships and improve community conditions so that ALL Marin residents have the opportunity to eat healthy foods and live active lives. 


Our Goal

By 2021, we strive to decrease the number of missing meals needed by 1 million in Marin County.


Strategic Framework


The vision of HEAL is to create and align systems across government agencies and community organizations so that everyone in Marin County, regardless of income, race, age or where they live, has access to quality, nutritious food that promotes health and well-being. We developed our initiative using the Theory of Change approach, which identifies assumptions, preconditions, and contextual factors that may support or hinder progress towards realizing long-term goals. Based on our assessment, we believe if we invest in a countywide collective impact approach for food security to change policy, systems, and environments (PSE), then health behaviors and health outcomes will improve for the target populations.

Theory of Change

We realize that our initiative can be achieved through just one organization. Instead we have concluded that with a common agenda, shared progress measurement, clearly defined roles for each group, continuous communication and backbone support for the framework, we can achieve collective success.

Guiding Principles

HEAL developed their Guiding Principles based on the models of Theory of Change and Collective Impact.  We recognize the need for courageous leadership, collective action, and systems thinking in order to move forward a community-driven, policy-systems-environment (PSE) approach to reducing disparities and achieving economic, racial, and food justice. 

Implementation Structure

The HEAL implementation structure includes three HEAL Implementing Task Forces, a Steering Committee, and Backbone Support from the HHS Nutrition Wellness Program. Together, these teams carry out priorities identified by the community. 

1. Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is comprised of community and organizational leaders identified by the Implementation Task Forces, as well as those providing infrastructure support, such as First 5 Marin, MarinKids, and Healthy Marin Partnership. The Steering Committee is led by a Chair and Vice Chair. The responsibilities of this group include: developing a collective impact data collection framework, communications, technical assistance and training, funding and resources, and in-kind (staff).

HEAL Implementation Structure

2. Task Forces

The Implementation Task Forces are comprised of community and organizational representatives and a Task Force Chair. Each Task Force devises and implements unique strategies for addressing hunger and health disparities in Marin. Within their specific area of focus, all Task Forces are responsible for: developing action plans, collecting data, supporting communications, and identifying technical assistance and training needs. To learn more about the objectives and strategies of each Task Force, click on their logo below. 


The CalFresh Program helps people with little or no income buy nutritious food. CalFresh benefits are not cash, they come on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that you use like a bank card to buy food. Most grocery stores and farmers markets take CalFresh benefits.


The Food Now Task Force ensures all low-income residents have access to nutritious food via standardized screening and referral services.


The Built Environment Task Force supports and creates environments where the economic needs of people experiencing food insecurity are met.


As the convener of the HEAL Initiative, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Nutrition Wellness Program serves as the backbone of the HEAL Implementation Structure. The Nutrition Wellness Program is responsible for: ensuring a common HEAL agenda throughout the Implementation Structure, mobilizing funding for HEAL activities, advancing policy initiatives related to HEAL, and convening local policy makers when necessary. HHS staff also provide administrative and backbone support for cross-sector communication, common messaging, leveraging of resources, leadership development, and data, messaging, and policy activities.