Dozens of local officials and advocates led by Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown spent the day in Toledo.

They met with Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and nonprofit health professionals to learn how the city has addressed so-called food deserts.

It didn't take long for the delegation to realize that solving the problem of food deserts involves much more than just food.

Perhaps most important in understanding how to overcome a problem like this is first understanding how we got here.

"It's a lack of investment," said Mayor Brown. "(And) those who were really concerned really didn't have many alternatives, so now we're looking at alternatives. Now we are in 2018 and we have to do things a little differently."

During the group's first stop at the Cherry Street Mission Ministries Life Revitalization Center, staff there said the idea is to make facilities like it a temporary solution, helping people learn how to be healthy on their own once they're not in crisis anymore.

After that, the delegation met with Catherine Crosby, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz's chief of staff, and ProMedica.

ProMedica is a nonprofit healthcare system.

Together, they focused on social factors that can affect a community's overall health, including upbringing, the neighborhood you live in, health habits and access to healthcare.

"Often times, food deserts lead to other problems or indicators for other issues," Crosby said.

Mayor Brown says Tuesday's meetings and suggestions will be evaluated and used to form a strategic plan going forward.