Award Winning Central Vermont Food Access Map Demonstrates the Importance of Community Design to Improving Health


Contact:           Bonnie Waninger, Executive Director



Montpelier, Vermont – June 22, 2020 – The Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission has been awarded a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award for development of a Food Access Map for the Hunger Council of Washington County.  The SAG award is given annually to a limited number of ESRI’s GIS clients around the world to recognize outstanding work with Geography Systems Technology (GIS) technology in a field of over 100,000 organizations.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a framework using hardware, software, data, and people to gather, manage, analyze, and visualize data.  The resulting maps provide deeper insights into data and help users make informed decisions.


“Helping the Council visualize food access was a natural fit with the Commission’s GIS skills.  The map demonstrates that decisions related to community design can affect people’s health,” said Bonnie Waninger, Executive Director of the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission.


“Our goal with the mapping tool was to understand where “food deserts” were in our county and how various factors like bus routes, locations of jobs, and types of food available in various stores impacted the results”, said Eileen Pelletier, Executive Director of Downstreet Housing and Community Development and Co-Chair of the Hunger Council of Washington County.  “With the interactive map tool, we can layer these variables in different groupings to help us strategize solutions.”


“Hunger Councils create opportunity for organizations and community leaders to bring their diverse perspectives to the table to address the issue of hunger in their communities.  The creative partnership that formed to develop this mapping tool is a prime example,” said Anore Horton, Executive Director of Hunger Free Vermont.”


The Vermont Department of Health, Green Mountain United Way, Downstreet Housing & Community Development, Vermont 2-1-1, and Hunger Free Vermont were instrumental in guiding the map’s development.  The Retail Food Access Map and its important contribution to GIS will be showcased at the SAG Award Virtual Conference in July 2020, and at ESRI’s award landing page –  The map is available at


The Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (CVRPC) assists its 23 member municipalities in Washington and Orange Counties to provide effective local government and to work cooperatively to address regional issues.  We leverage the power of people working together to build healthy communities in Central Vermont.  Learn more at


The Hunger Councils of Vermont are groups of local, regional, and statewide leaders who come together regularly to address issues related to hunger in their communities. These groups share information, collaborate on projects, and help raise public awareness of the causes of hunger and how we can work together to end it in Vermont. Hunger Councils are led by members of the community, and supported by Hunger Free Vermont.  There are ten Hunger Councils covering the entire state of Vermont and the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire. The Hunger Council of Washington County was established in 2006.


Hunger Free Vermont is the statewide nonprofit organization that advocates and educates to bring a permanent end to hunger in Vermont through systemic change, universal strategies, and community collaboration.


ESRI is the global market leader in GIS (Geographic Informational Systems).  Its SAG Award recognizes organizations, like CVRPC, that use GIS to improve our world.  Visit for information.