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Closing the Grocery Gap in Underserved Communities: The Creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative

Giang, Tracey MPA; Karpyn, Allison PhD; Laurison, Hannah Burton MA; Hillier, Amy PhD; Perry, R. Duane MCRP

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: May/June 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 3 - p 272–279
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000316486.57512.bf
Commentary

The issue of access to healthy foods has been central to the work of many community-based organizations around the country. One such organization, The Food Trust, launched an effective advocacy campaign to bring awareness and policy change to the issue. The Food Trust's efforts with its partners resulted in the creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the nation's first statewide financing program to increase supermarket development in underserved areas. This article focuses on a key component of the advocacy campaign: the creation of an evidence-based report that served as a strong, credible foundation for the campaign. The steps that were taken to find partners, obtain and analyze the data, and disseminate the findings are described. In addition, the outcomes of the Fresh Food Financing Initiative are discussed.

• This article discusses how The Food Trust launched an effective advocacy campaign to bring awareness and policy change to the “grocery gap” issue, ultimately resulting in the creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the nation's first statewide financing program aimed at increasing supermarket development in underserved areas.

Tracey Giang, MPA, is Program Manager of the Supermarket Campaign, The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Allison Karpyn, PhD, is Director of Research and Evaluation, The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hannah Burton Laurison, MA, is Policy Analyst, The Public Health Law Program in Oakland, California. She was formerly Senior Associate, The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Amy Hillier, PhD, is Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning, School of Design, The University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a GIS consultant, The Food Trust,. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

R. Duane Perry, MCRP, Founder, The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Corresponding Author: Tracey Giang, MPA, The Food Trust, Philadelphia, 1617 JFK Blvd, Suite 900, PA 19103 (tgiang@thefoodtrust.org).

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.