Learn more about successful projects and research studies advancing healthy food access in the community:
- Research Spotlight: "Doubling Up" on Produce at Detroit Farmers Markets: Patterns and Correlates of Use of a Healthy Food Incentive
State & Local Policy Efforts
Policy Efforts to Watch: Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign
The Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign, led by the American Heart Association in partnership with Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan and Michigan Good Food Fund (MGFF) partners, is an effort to support healthy food choices by expanding healthy food access for all residents in Michigan communities. The campaign is an innovative partnership made up of retailers, health advocates, policymakers and finance leaders across Michigan with the goal of securing a state investment in the MGFF. Funding will support food production, distribution, processing, and retail projects that expand the availability of healthy food offerings in places where access to healthy food is currently limited.
As part of this effort, the Michigan chapter of the American Heart Association, together with The Food Trust, recently released a report highlighting neighborhoods in greatest need of healthy food retail throughout the state, Food For Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Michigan. The report found that there are over 1.8 million Michigan residents, including an estimated 300,000 children, living in lower-income communities with limited supermarket access.
On October 5th, 2015, the Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign convened a meeting of stakeholders where campaign partners shared updates on the campaign’s progress in securing $10 million from the State of Michigan to support the MGFF.
In December 2015, Representative Dave Pagel introduced House Bill 5180, which would create a new act, the Healthy Food Assistance Act. The act would "establish a statewide program to increase the availability of fresh and nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables, in underserved communities by providing financing for retailers to open, renovate, or expand grocery stores." Specifically, the bill would "provide funding for county-based programs to provide assistance to small food retailers to increase the availability and sales of fresh and nutritious food, including fresh produce, in low and moderate income communities." For more information, please see the bill analysis along with other legislative documents.
In October 2016, Senator Geoffrey Hansen introduced Senate Bill 1110, using the same language as HB 5180, and it was referred to the Committee on Economic Development and International Investment. Passage of the bill is pending. You can find a summary of the bill and more information here.
Detroit Green Grocer Project
In May 2010, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) launched the Green Grocer Project (formerly Fresh Food Access Initiative) to provide Detroit’s grocers with the technical assistance and funding needed to become successful, sustainable and competitive in the metro area grocery market. The Green Grocer Project acts as a clearinghouse for grocers to help navigate city bureaucracy and issues such as permitting, zoning and site selection. The program assists stores with such things as technical assistance grants; connections to partners such as community banks and vendors; and help with licensing, zoning, permits, and easements. Also part of the Green Grocer Project is the Façade Improvement Program, inviting grocers to apply for matching funds to improve the visual appearance and marketability of their full service grocery stores and their parking lots within the city of Detroit. To date, over 25 projects have secured financing and received technical assistance through the program to support both existing and new retail outlets. The program plans to assist another 5-10 of the city’s grocers through the end of 2015. The Green Grocer Project has received funding from the Kresge Foundation, Lasalle Bank (now Bank of America), Detroit Investment Fund and the City of Detroit. See the Green Grocer Project Page for more information.
Background and Advocacy: Detroit Fresh Food Access Initiative and Green Grocer Project
The Detroit Fresh Food Access Initiative was formed in October 2007 in response to the city’s unmet demand for grocery stores. Headed by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) with support from the Kresge Foundation, the initiative created a multi-sector taskforce that released a report in August 2008 with recommendations of ways to strengthen the overall grocery industry as a delivery mechanism for fresh and healthy foods. See the report, Detroit Fresh Food Access Initiative.
The Michigan Good Food Fund
In 2013, the Michigan Good Food Fund (MGFF) — a statewide public-private healthy food financing program — was launched to increase access to healthy food, spur economic development and create jobs. Managed by Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that has been overseeing the California FreshWorks fund since 2011, MGFF will expand access to healthy food for Michigan residents in underserved areas by providing loans and business assistance to support projects across the state’s food value chain, including production, processing, aggregation, distribution and retail projects. Other core partners of the fund include Fair Food Network and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. The Fund is supported with a $3 million federal grant from the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) as well as further financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. MGFF partners are implementing the program with a focus on promoting equitable access to food jobs, business ownership, and flexible capital; sustainable environmental practices; and locally grown and regionally produced foods.
- For more information and a full list of fund partners, please visit: Michigan Good Food Fund
- Read this Perspectives post: Michigan Deserves a Better Food Future
Background and Advocacy: Michigan Good Food Charter
Beginning in late 2009, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems joined forces with the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Michigan Food Policy Council to examine the state of Michigan’s food systems and together began work to develop specific goals that would promote equity, sustainability and a thriving economy across the state. These identified priorities were presented as the Charter’s initial recommendations at a statewide summit, held at the Lansing Center on February 2010. The culmination of all comments and feedback from advocates across the state about these recommendations resulted in the release of the Michigan Good Food Charter in June 2010. The Charter serves as a roadmap for a food system rooted in local communities of which many current efforts in Michigan have built upon. The MGFF is grounded in the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter.
- The Michigan Good Food Charter has become a model for statewide goal setting around the issue. Read the Charter’s outlined six goals here.
For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.