Washington Food Coalition Nutrition Policy Guidelines


The Washington Food Coalition is committed to increasing the availability of nutrient-dense and culturally representative foods throughout our member network. We acknowledge the vital influence nutritious, whole foods have on the holistic wellbeing of the land and people. A lack of these foods negatively impacts the health of the communities we serve. We recognize the existence of systemic injustices within the food system and work to ensure historically underrepresented voices drive our decision-making. The WFC calls for change within the larger food system while considering the unique impact that donors, corporations, the food industry and government have in creating a healthier food landscape across Washington State. 

To achieve this purpose, Washington Food Coalition (WFC) has identified specific goals we encourage our members to achieve:

  • Develop nutrition policies and standards which take into account the unique needs of their customers.
  • Use the Healthy Eating Research Nutritional Guidelines for the Charitable Food System (HER), based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as a resource to guide policy making.
  • Regularly evaluate progress towards achieving nutrition goals by measuring the increase of foods distributed that meet the HER “Green/Choose Often” criteria.
  • Create opportunities for underrepresented voices (e.g. customer advisory groups) to be heard and participate in policy development and operational decision making.
  • Be actively involved in their communities so all food program staff and volunteers (executive directors, board members, etc.) can gain additional perspective on community food needs.

To support our members’ pursuit of these goals, the WFC Board will establish a Nutrition Policy Committee (supported by WFC staff) to oversee the following action steps:

  • Maintain a food purchasing guide to help members identify sources of healthy and culturally relevant food products.
  • Compile and share best practices on customer engagement and relationship building within customer communities.
  • Compile and share relevant resources and tools for developing nutrition policies.
  • Measure WFC member progress by tracking and sharing how many members have nutrition policies.
  • Work toward opportunities to include customer representatives on the WFC board and committees.
  • Advocate for a healthier food environment by identifying customer champions including food retail, government and non-profit sectors to create lasting systemic change.                                              

Administration & Implementation 

The idea of a WFC Nutrition Policy came from conversations with individual food providers and coalitions that have been working on their own nutrition policies. Feedback from these programs and coalitions identified the need for a set of statewide shared values which will support food providers in adopting and implementing such policies. Public Health Seattle & King County is providing funding and technical assistance to support the coalition in convening a workgroup to help create the policy. 

The WFC strives to identify and bring best practices to its membership. The Nutrition Policy work seemed to be a perfect fit to achieve that goal since the goal of a nutrition policy is to have a safe, wholesome, nutritious, culturally appropriate food supply that is economically accessible and available in adequate amounts to promote health, prevent dietary deficiency, and reduce other diet-related diseases.

WFC Nutrition Policy Guidelines Formation 

WFC convened a workgroup in 2021 to develop a draft nutrition policy. Workgroup members were drawn from across the state and consisted of representatives from WFC member food pantries, food distributors, and local public health staff. The workgroup shared an initial purpose statement at the 2021 WFC Conference and incorporated feedback from the session into the policy. 

Implementation Plan

The WFC Nutrition Policy Guidelines are intended as a living document that will be reviewed quarterly by a WFC board committee to evaluate and improve implementation.

In Spring 2022, WFC will share the developed guidelines with WFC members and invite feedback through a survey and targeted follow up. WFC will share updates on the policy and resources to help members implement the policy at WFC conferences and other training opportunities. 


 Additional Nutrition Policy Resources to Support WFC Members

Food Shopper Equity, Northwest Harvest - A collection of lessons and tools for hunger relief agencies and their partners to develop food environments that support shopper equity.

Healthier Food Donation Guidelines for Retailers and Distributors, Centers for Science in the Public Interest. Guidelines to help food retailers and distributors donate more nutritious foods and beverages to food banks, food pantries and other charitable food system organizations.

Nutrition in Food Banking Toolkit, Feeding America. A resource to help the charitable food sector better understand and meet nutrition needs of our neighbors experiencing food insecurity.

Food Purchasing Guide, Washington Food Coalition

Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for Charitable Food System overview