Giving Compass' Take:
- LISC invests in grocery stores and food outlets in neighborhoods that would be considered food deserts in an effort to battle food insecurity.
- How can donors help support efforts to address food deserts and their impact on local communities?
- Read about keeping grocery stores open in rural communities.
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October’s UN Sustainable Development Goal of the Month recognizes Goal 2: Zero Hunger. “Zero Hunger” speaks to the multi-dimensional approach needed to tackle food insecurity – from increasing access to healthy food to transforming food systems to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable world. LISC has long recognized that access to nutritious food is a key ingredient of community health but that many people, especially those living in food deserts, face serious hurdles getting access to good food.
LISC has invested for decades in grocery stores and other food outlets in the communities we work with, and, since 2012, we have received $16.5 million from the U.S. Treasury’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative to invest in nutrition-related projects and infrastructure in places that lack adequate healthy food options.
You can see that kind of investment at work with LISC’s financing of leasehold improvements and purchase of new equipment for Astoria Co-Op in Astoria, Oregon. In rural Astoria, where nearly 20 percent of the population lives in poverty, the co-op is the only grocery store offering Double-Up Food Bucks, a program that matches a shopper’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spending on produce with a credit for future produce purchases—a strategy to help make healthy food more affordable. The construction of a new store more than tripled the co-op’s space in a location that is adjacent to a food desert, and revitalized a brownfield site at the same time. It also preserved 30 existing jobs and created 35 new ones—jobs that pay around $17 per hour and include benefits for retail workers, which is well above the local minimum wage.
LISC’s healthy food financing includes projects in urban and rural communities, spanning supermarkets, farmer’s markets, community gardens, food preparation spaces and much more. Through sustained investment and partnership in our communities, LISC works to increase access to healthy, affordable food while sparking commercial revitalization and job creation.
Read the full article about investing in healthy, affordable food by Anna Smukowski at LISC.