Learn more about successful projects and research studies advancing healthy food access in the community:
- Portal Profile: Cooperative Fund of New England
- Portal Profile: Corbin Hill Food Project
- Portal Profile: MyTown Marketplace
- Nojaim Brothers Supermarket
- Research Spotlight: Could EBT Machines Increase Fruit and Vegetable Purchases at New York City Green Carts?
- Research Spotlight: Assessment of a Government-Subsidized Supermarket in a High-Need Area on Household Food Availability and Children's Dietary Intakes
State & Local Policy Efforts
New York City FRESH Program
In New York City, the Bloomberg administration acted on the New York Supermarket Commission's recommendations by creating the FRESH Program (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) to encourage healthy food retail development in underserved areas throughout the city. Launched in summer 2010, the FRESH Program (1) provides tax incentives to healthy food retailers, (2) creates incentives in the zoning code for real estate developments that incorporate healthy food, and (3) creates a single point of access for supermarket operators to interface with city government. Click here to learn more about the FRESH Program.
New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund
In 2006, New York City public officials, including Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, began a concerted effort to improve access to healthy foods in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. This investigation highlighted the need for statewide intervention and the creation of task force, funded by the Friedman Foundation and convened by New York City’s Food Policy Coordinator, the Food Bank of New York City, the New York City Council, the Food Industry Alliance of New York, and The Food Trust, to address the barriers to supermarket and other fresh food retail development in underserved communities across New York State. As a result, the New York Supermarket Commission created a set of policy recommendations to incentivize healthy food retail investment in these areas, including the recommendation that a statewide grocery financing program be created. In response to the recommendations of the New York Supermarket Commission, Governor Paterson launched the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund in 2010, a $30-million business financing program to encourage supermarket and other fresh food retail investment in underserved areas throughout the state.
- Read the special report that demonstrated the need for more supermarkets in New York City: Special Report: The Need for More Supermarkets in New York.
- For the full set of recommendation generated by the Commission: Stimulating Supermarket Development: A New Day for New York.
The program provided grants and loans made available through a revolving loan fund to eligible projects. The initiative included a $10-million commitment from the state’s Empire State Development Corporation. This investment from the State of New York leveraged over $192 million in additional funding, including $20 million from Goldman Sachs Bank. The Low Income Investment Fund was the lead administrator for the fund and partnered with Reinvestment Fund and The Food Trust to implement the program.
The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund provided $192,092,204 to twenty-six healthy food retail projects aimed at improving access to nutritious food for over 83,000 people in underserved communities in New York State. The twenty-six projects that received HFHC funding are spread across New York City boroughs and many upstate cities and rural towns, including Buffalo, Syracuse, Mount Vernon, Red Creek, Highland Falls, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Hudson, and Broome County. Projects included new and expanded/renovated grocery stores, mobile markets, farmers markets, and corner stores. The Fund’s investments have so far supported 205,630 square feet of new, improved, or preserved food retail space and created or preserved 1,452 direct permanent and construction jobs.
Though the Fund has been fully deployed, there is still need for more access to healthy food retail in lower-income, underserved communities throughout New York. In 2015, through the Voices for Healthy Kids Campaign, the New York Affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA) launched an advocacy campaign to recapitalize the HFHC Fund. Campaign managers organized a diverse coalition of statewide stakeholders, including HFHC Fund managers and representatives from the grocery, health, government, and child advocacy sectors, to provide direction and support for the campaign. In early 2016, AHA also released the report ‘Healthy Food = Healthy Economy: Improving the Economic Vitality of New York’s Underserved Communities via Healthy Food Access’ to highlight the tremendous impact of the HFHC Fund, share maps that bring attention to underserved communities that still exist throughout the state, and recommend that the state reinvest in supporting healthy food retail development in areas of need.
Even though the campaign’s aim to get a $15 million investment from the state to recapitalize the HFHC Fund was not met, the campaign did get traction in the legislature. Ultimately, Rochester Senator Richard Funke was successful in getting a $500,000 allocation from the governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative to focus on healthy food retail development for underserved New York Communities. Advocates continue to work to get dedicated HFHC funds from the state.