Food retail intervention policies
This paper is a follow-up to the 2012 efforts of John Fife that identified Community Development Financial Institution-led food retail intervention policies as the most effective in bringing supermarkets to underserved urban areas. Specifically cited in the conclusion was the success of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative. To further this research, this paper will utilize a similar structured inquiry to evaluate CDFI-led policies that were implemented during or since the FFFI program. Through five case studies (Pennsylvania (updated), California, Colorado, New Orleans, and New York) this paper examines the creation and results of several different retail intervention policies. Each case study provides the conditions predicating the need to improve food access and the policy instruments used to address the issues. The paper assesses the policies based on eight features: strategy components, aeris rating, funding stream, viability, duration, scope, cost-effectiveness, and replicability. The analysis compares the cases to determine the most successful and replicable policy used to address the food access issues plaguing urban areas commonly referred to as food deserts. The paper makes several conclusions regarding CDFI-led retail intervention policies. Successful retail intervention policies require strong and stable CDFI's administering policy funds to sustain operations. The geographic scope of the policy, in terms of statewide versus citywide, does not alter the potential of a policy so much as population density. The overall fund size and thus size of funding packages available to individual projects must be complementary to available funds on the market, which varies by area. Finally, policies are most effective with sufficient seed funding that carries few regulations or compliance requirements.