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 Did you know...
  • Existing supermarkets are unevenly distributed across New Jersey? Lower-income urban areas and rural communities tend to have fewer supermarkets than other communities.
  • The creation of local food systems throughout New Jersey is likely to increase access and availability of healthy food choices and offer individuals an additional option for purchasing healthy food? 
  • Food and drink options at corner stores are often limited to packaged foods and little, if any, fresh produce?
  • How we design our communities strongly influences people's physical activity levels and health? 
  • Safe and accessible bicycle and pedestrian facilities are essential if New Jersey residents are to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
ShapingNJ Strategies

ShapingNJ is working to decrease obesity in New Jersey communities by focusing on strategies that make healthy foods and physical activity options more easily available.

Put fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods and beverages within easy reach for all residents in all neighborhoods.  

  • Develop business incentives for new food markets to locate in neighborhoods lacking access to healthy foods.
  • Make it easier for small convenience stores to sell healthy food that is reasonably priced and easy to prepare. Stores may need assistance with refrigeration, signage, marketing, and displaying healthy options to promote sales.
  • Increase communities' ability to produce and distribute healthy foods and beverages, including more farmers' markets, farm stands, community-supported agriculture, urban farms, mobile markets, school and community gardens and food pantries.


Provide safe and convenient opportunities for daily physical activity in all neighborhoods.

  • Maintain clean and safe neighborhood parks, playgrounds and recreation centers and encourage their use.
  • Adapt existing and build new streets and sidewalks to make it safer and easier to walk or bike to school, shops, transit and other daily destinations.
  • Build and/or keep schools, libraries, parks, playgrounds and other public facilities within easy walking or biking distance of where people live and work.
  • Reduce the dangers of crime, traffic and other hazards that interfere with walking, biking or playing outside.
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Highlights and Accomplishments

The results of ShapingNJ's work can be seen across the state. Some highlights include:

  • Garden State Urban Farms and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center partnered to bring local fresh food to the south ward of Newark. Beth Israel Medical Center offered a vacant lot to Garden State Urban Farms to create an earth box farm. The farm grows produce for the local farmer's market located in the hospital lobby.
  • Ten New Jersey communities developed capacity to increase access to healthy food and physical activity for residents and implemented policy, environmental and infrastructure changes. Four ShapingNJ partners joined to fund this project. Results include:
    • a county-wide vendor policy for healthy concessions,
    • a school wellness council that implemented a healthy party policy,
    • installation of bike racks in concert with NJ Transit, and
    • creation of a community garden with a sustainable business plan.
  • Sustainable Jersey, a certification program for municipalities to become sustainable, worked with ShapingNJ and its partners to incorporate the ShapingNJ community strategies into its accreditation program.
    • As a result, communities can earn points towards Sustainable Certification by building Safe Routes to School Teams, establishing farmer's markets, and developing and maintaining community and school gardens.  

  • ShapingNJ partners Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, NJ Future and NJ Department of Transportation, and Sustainable Jersey worked in conjunction with ONF to plan and organize Complete Streets/Safe Routes to Schools training workshops in the north, central and southern regions of the state. 
  • In partnership with the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and the NJ Urban Mayors Association, ShapingNJ held a three-day Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) training workshop.
  • In 2012, ShapingNJ and the NJ Office of Minority and Multicultural Health hosted the first ShapingNJ Faith-Based conference, "Healthy Living for All: Bringing Healthy Eating and Active Living to Your Faith-Based Community".
  • In 2013, 18 New Jersey communities received funding through the NJ Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Office of Nutrition and Fitness to make the healthy choice the easy choice.  
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