Monday, August 17, 2009

Healthy Supermarkets?

"Is the Obama administration's urban policy ready for prime time?

In Philadelphia,July 23, White House Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrion led...federal officials...to visit...a shining new inner-city supermarket."

Neil Pierce, "Obama Cabinet Officials Kick Off Urban Road Show," August 2, 2009, Washington Post Writers Group

Great project to address big problem of food access. But Obama had little to do with it. Subsidizing inner-city development is a perennial favorite of urban developers, whether through Clinton era tax credits or outright grants. Remember Jimmy Carter's urban policy -- UDAGs -- Urban Development Action Grants. Don't forget to count the real job creation numbers.

Pierce is on target when he observes, "If there was a shortcoming..., it was a missing metropolitan factor -- few specific examples of regional fresh food supply chains and the role of such extraordinaily fertile food-producing counties such as nearby Lancaster."

But I guess that would have made it an urban/rural policy.

I hope someone invests in evaluation research to understand the cost savings for inner-city consumers and the health effects from accessing a brand new supermarket --even if most of the food within is not especially healthy.

1 comment:

brn said...

There has been some research on the topic, but it's definitely a newer area of exploration.

If you are interested, Mari Gallagher (formerely of MCIC in Chicago), has been researching and organizing around 'Food Deserts' http://fooddesert.net/

In particular, I'd look at her firm's 'Impacts of Food Deserts in Detroit' report: http://marigallagher.com/projects/2/

Also, here's the full list of the firm's publications--http://marigallagher.com/projects/

Interesting post, thanks Bob.