Release Complements TRF’s Robust Healthy Food Financing Expertise
Philadelphia, February 5, 2015—The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) announces a select release of its 2014 update to the Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis. The release offers a look at the data for five states—California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia. The analysis is part of TRF’s extensive efforts to address the inadequate and inequitable access to healthy foods in communities across the country.
In 21st century America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 29.7 million people live in low-income areas more than one mile from a supermarket. These communities lack adequate access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food choices. Lack of access is particularly problematic in many low-income urban and rural communities as well as communities of color. In rural areas, a store with healthy food can be tens of miles away. For people facing barriers to fresh, healthy, and affordable food choices, eating well becomes a challenge. Communities without full-service grocery retailers also lose out on the benefits these businesses can bring: jobs and the development of other amenities and services nearby.
TRF is a leader in efforts to address this issue, with a three-pronged approach that includes financing, data analysis and capacity-building. In addition to providing over $200 million in financing to support healthy food access in the last decade alone, TRF has also been a pioneer in the use of data and analysis to understand access to healthy food, particularly in low-income communities.
With more than 10 studies on topics related to food access, TRF’s comprehensive body of research has earned it national recognition. Among its seminal studies is the LSA analysis, which was first released in 2012 as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund’s Capacity Building Initiative on Financing Healthy Food Options. The LSA analysis was developed to contribute to a deeper understanding of the characteristics of areas with limited access to healthy food.
“The 2014 LSA analysis is very much part of TRF’s commitment to data-advised investing, which ensures a targeted approach to using scarce resources to maximize tangible benefits to low-income communities,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, CEO of TRF. “We are pleased to be able to share a first look at this data for five states, where TRF is partnering with local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to make a concerted effort to improve the food landscape.”
TRF’s 2014 LSA data estimates that approximately 36% of the nation’s underserved population lives in low-income areas. In some states like Ohio, 50% of its underserved population is low-income and a disproportionately high share are also minority. The 2014 LSA data for the five states is currently available at www.policymap.com, under the “Analytics” tab. A national release of the analysis is expected in the spring. The 2014 LSA also marks the first time that the analysis illustrates trends in healthy food access from 2005 through 2013.
This selected release highlights states served through ReFresh, TRF’s national initiative to improve access to healthy foods in urban and rural communities across the U.S. TRF launched this first of its kind CDFI capacity building initiative with a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. CDFIs that are part of ReFresh are the Finance Fund Capital Corporation, the Florida Community Loan Fund, the Northern California Community Loan Fund, the Colorado Enterprise Fund and Virginia Community Capital.
In addition to helping improve access to healthy food, ReFresh also addresses the economic development benefits that are connected to healthy food businesses, such as steady job opportunities at decent wages and additional investments that follow healthy food retailers. In some communities, additional opportunities may be tied to manufacturing and distribution systems that could be connected to the supply of fresh, healthy foods in regions that are currently underserved.
About The Reinvestment Fund
TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities, through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has made $1.5 billion in community investments since 1985. A Community Development Financial Institution, TRF finances a variety of projects and activities including food access, health care, education and housing, to build healthy communities in under-invested places. TRF also provides public policy expertise by helping clients create actionable solutions and by sharing data and analysis via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com. Follow TRF on Twitter @trfund or Facebook at facebook.com/TRFund.
Kavita Vijayan, 215-574-5893, email@example.com