11.7 million people better served with targeted investments in equitable food systems
Reinvestment Fund today released a new analysis that identifies Rural Food Access Investment Areas (Investment Areas). These Investment Areas are places in rural America that do not have easy access to healthy food retail but have the market demand to support investments in new and existing place-based solutions. Reinvestment Fund has identified 1,472 Investment Areas that are home to 11.7 million people in the rural U.S.
“The sustainability and inequities of our food system have never been more glaring, particularly at this time when food stores have been deemed essential businesses and are lifelines for our communities,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “Investing in a resilient and just food system is vital for our nation and that includes the small businesses and essential workers that build and sustain our rural food economy.”
At Reinvestment Fund, the essence of our work is to build social cohesion and restore community fabric. This past week, we witnessed ghastly events fueled by division and hate—experiences that are fundamentally antithetical to our values. These challenging events underscore that our friendships, alliances and shared support is more important now than ever before.
Despite gains over the past decade, limited access to healthy food continues to affect residents of both urban and rural communities across the United States—which is why Reinvestment Fund recently updated its Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis. According to the 2018 update, 17.6 million people (5.6% of the population) live in LSA areas, a decrease of 3.1 million people (or 15%) from 2010.
The LSA analysis measures access to healthy food by determining which areas are well-served by supermarkets and which have relatively limited access. But Reinvestment Fund’s LSA analysis is unique in going beyond simply identifying areas with limited access; it also measures the extent to which LSA areas can support new or expanded food retail.
“For more than a decade, we have worked to ensure that all Americans have equitable and adequate access to healthy food,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “The LSA has been at the core of our evidence-based approach to solutions that bring improved access to healthy food as well as economic opportunity to communities across the country.”
Despite gains over the past decade, limited access to healthy food continues to affect urban and rural communities across the United States. Financing the construction of new supermarkets and the expansion of existing stores is one of the primary strategies to increase access to sources of healthy food in underserved communities. Reinvestment Fund’s Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis is a tool to help investors and policymakers identify areas across the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia that have both inadequate and inequitable access to healthy food and sufficient market demand for new or expanded food retail operations.
Reinvestment Fund joined our ReFresh Partner, Hope Enterprise, to finance the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Robért’s Fresh Market, which has been closed for 11 years after sustaining damage during Hurricane Katrina. Located along the St. Claude corridor, the fullservice store will include a variety of fresh and perishable departments.
Since 2014, Reinvestment Fund has been working with cities and organizations around the country to accelerate the creation of new healthy food options in underserved communities. This partnership, called ReFresh (https://www.reinvestment.com/initiatives/refresh/), has led to the creation of new data tools and market reports designed to help communities target healthy food investments. The most popular of these is the Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis, which identifies areas with inequitable and inadequate access to food retail. Related to the LSA is our leakage analysis which estimates the financial capacity of an area and its residents to support a new or expanded supermarket.