DC Greens advocates for healthy food access through DC's City Council, DC's food policy council, and coalitions in DC like the Fair Budget Coalition, Fair Food For All DC, and the DC Farmers' Market Collaborative. We also work with city agencies like the DC Department of Health and Department for Small Local Business Development to support funding streams that reach corner stores, potential grocers, and farmers markets.
DC Healthy Food Retail Program
Additionally, the FEED DC Act creates, in the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), a Healthy Food Retail Program, which will provide assistance for small retailers seeking to sell healthy foods in underserved communities. Small retailers can include existing corner stores seeking to sell fresh produce and healthy foods; farmers’ markets; and other small retailers, such as fruit and vegetable vendors. The program was funded at $300,000 for fiscal year 2011. These funds are helping corner stores, farmers’ markets, and other small food retailers sell healthy foods in underserved, low-income areas, as directed by the FEED DC Act. DSLBD also will work with a variety of local stakeholders to create a plan for a commercial fruit and vegetable distribution system for corner stores and other small retailers. For more information, see the DC Healthy Food Retail Program.
FEED DC Act
The District of Columbia passed the Food, Environment, and Economic Development in the District of Columbia Act of 2010 to incentivize grocery store development in the District. The “FEED” DC Act builds on the district’s existing Supermarket Tax Exemption Act of 2000 to create a package of incentives and assistance for new grocery store developments and for grocery store renovations in lower-income parts of the city. Specifically, the act (1) sets up a structure for grants and loans to eligible grocery store projects (both new developments and renovations to existing stores), awarded on a competitive basis; (2) designates a “Grocery Ambassador” in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to help grocers navigate through the bureaucratic hurdles of opening new stores; (3) allows for density bonuses and other zoning flexibility for eligible grocery store developments; (4) creates a fast-track permitting and review process for eligible grocery store developments; and (5) directs the DC Department of the Environment to develop and promote energy-efficiency resources to help grocers lower their operating costs. For more information, see the FEED DC Act.
For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.