Learn more about successful projects and research studies advancing healthy food access in the community:
In Vineland, New Jersey, Reinvestment Fund helped finance Bottino ShopRite Supermarket. The project involved the construction of a new $25.7 million single-building retail center anchored by a 74,000-square-foot full-service supermarket. The retail center created 100 new jobs, of which half went to Vineland residents. You can find more information about Bottino ShopRite in this Portal profile and more information about Reinvestment Fund here.
Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program
State & Local Policy Efforts
Policy Effort to Watch: The New Jersey Healthy Small Food Retailer Act
The American Heart Association, The Food Trust, and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids have been working to educate policymakers at the state level about the lack of healthy food access in many lower-income communities and the impact of the statewide Healthy Corner Store Initiative to build support for state investment in the program. In 2016, the “Healthy Small Food Retailer Act” passed in both the Senate and the Assembly, but was vetoed by Gov. Christie. . Advocates are continuing to work with legislative leaders to address concerns and will be reintroducing the bill in the upcoming session.
Links for more information:
- New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative website
- Supporting Healthy Corner Store Development in New Jersey, a report of the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Task Force
New Jersey Food Access Initiative
In 2010, the New Jersey Food Council and the New Jersey Economic Development Agency, in conjunction with The Food Trust, convened the New Jersey Food Marketing Task Force. The task force developed a series of recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved areas across the state.
- Learn more about the publication that helped highlight the need for grocery stores across the state and led to the creation of the task force: Special Report: The Need for More Supermarkets in New Jersey.
- Read the full set of recommendations to overcome the barriers to supermarket development in underserved neighborhoods across the state generated by the task force: Special Report: Expanding New Jersey’s Supermarkets; A New Day for the Garden State.
In 2009, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) collaborated with The Reinvestment Fund to launch the New Jersey Food Access Initiative (NJFAI), a statewide financing program to improve access to healthy foods. NJFAI makes grants and loans available to support supermarket developers and operators, food hubs, and other formats of fresh food retail that will increase access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved areas across the state, with emphasis on serving the following ten cities: Atlantic City, Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, Trenton, and Vineland.
Responding to the task force recommendations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) contributed a $10 million Program Related Investment (PRI) and a $2 million grant to NJFAI in 2012. This investment compliments the work of community coalitions funded by RWJF to combat childhood obesity as part of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK). NJFAI's other financial partners include Living Cities ($2 million), NJEDA ($4 million), and The Reinvestment Fund ($2 million).
Background and Advocacy
In 2014, The Food Trust and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids launched a partnered effort to launch a statewide Healthy Corner Store Initiative in New Jersey. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Campbell’s Soup Company, and the New Jersey Department of Health, the initiative has grown to include over 150 participating stores in 23 cities across the state. Participating stores receive a range of customized support and technical assistance including training on how to stock and display fresh produce and other healthy products; marketing materials, such as shelf talkers and recipe cards; equipment, such as baskets and shelving; and in-store consumer education programs such as nutrition lessons, taste tests and health screenings.
As part of this statewide initiative, The Food Trust, the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, and the American Heart Association convened the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Task Force in October 2014. Comprised of nearly 40 leaders from the health, financial, philanthropic, government, business, distribution and food retail sectors, the task force was formed to explore barriers to offering healthy foods in corner stores in underserved communities and identify strategies to increase the distribution, promotion, and sale of healthy products. The group released its recommendations in 2015 in the report “Supporting Healthy Corner Store Development in New Jersey.”
For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.