The Westchester County Department of Planning, with the support of the Department of Health, is launching a survey as part of its Transportation and Food Access Study. The survey asks Westchester residents ages 18 and older to share their experiences travelling to get groceries, as well as information on the type and affordability of food available to them in the County.

The goal of the study is to develop effective strategies to increase Westchester County resident access to affordable, quality food, with the goal of decreasing food insecurity, improving health outcomes, and increasing the quality of life in Westchester. The study will include a County-wide analysis, as well as a more detailed examination of a yet to be determined smaller study area.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “The entire purpose of this study is for the County to find out more about the obstacles that stand in the way of our residents accessing affordable, nutritious food. We want to increase accessibility to the groceries that people truly need so our residents can live longer, healthier lives. I encourage anyone who has a few minutes to participate in this survey, to help us decrease food insecurity across Westchester.” 

Westchester County Commissioner of Planning Blanca Lopez said: “The Planning Department is excited to launch this survey County-wide to obtain much needed primary information on how Westchester County residents access food. Survey responses will help us identify challenges as well as better understand the experiences that survey-takers have in accessing affordable and nutritious food. We are grateful to our colleagues in the Health Department, as well as our partners from community-based organizations who are helping us with survey distribution and data collection, so that our study can develop effective strategies and recommendations to increase food access to as many County residents as possible.”

The anonymous survey is available in English and in Spanish online, as well as hard copy now through November 17. The assessment seeks to identify how Westchester residents access groceries, what types of groceries are available to them, and what obstacles exist accessing groceries.

Some of the issues that will be explored include: Improving transit, pedestrian and bicycle connection to existing food sources; improving food distribution and delivery options; and changes to zoning, land use and other municipal policies to increase the availability of groceries.

The survey will be distributed via email to a diverse range of community groups, and will be available on paper and via QR code on fliers placed in public locations such as food pantries, public transit, hospitals, clinics and County offices. Health Department staff also will be onsite at some locations to help promote the survey.

The survey is part of the Transportation and Food Access Study administered by the Westchester County Department of Planning, and conducted by the planning firm Steer. The results of the survey will be analyzed alongside targeted stakeholder outreach and available data to identify existing challenges related to food access in Westchester County.