Building Team Chemistry: The Bigger Picture Behind Cows & Climate
Animal Biology Graduate Student, UC Davis
Year Awarded 2017
FFAR award amount $996,560
Total award amount $2,114,226
Location Austin, TX
Program Tipping Points
Matching Funders Austin Public Health
Although Austin, Texas, is often ranked as a healthy city, it also has high rates of food insecurity and obesity, especially among low-income populations. However, opening grocery stores in low-income food deserts can have the unintended effect of increasing property values, risking displacement of long-time residents.
Austin launched the Healthy Foods Access Initiative to provide alternatives for physical and economic access to healthy food. The initiative includes different strategies, such as financial incentives to purchase fruit and vegetables, strategic placement of mobile produce trucks and farm stands at schools and housing complexes, and stocking produce in corner stores and gas stations.
Researchers at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, in collaboration with Sustainable Food Center, are modeling the impact of these strategies on people’s fruit and vegetable purchase and consumption, and food security. The results will inform the best ways to implement and expand healthy food initiatives.
In addition, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FFAR expanded the existing grant to the researchers to assess how food systems — especially emergency food systems — operate and adapt in times of stress.
This research is modeling how a multipronged approach to promoting healthy diets best provides access and education without risking gentrification.
Access to healthy food continues to be a significant and complex issue for many low-income households in the US. Providing easier access to healthy food is part of the solution – however, to truly create food security for all, many other actions, such as addressing the root causes of food insecurity such as poverty, are necessary as well.Alexandra van den Berg
MPH, Ph.D., Associate Director, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Professor, Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences.
The project uses existing data collected by the City of Austin, including food environment analysis data, in combination with newly collected project data to model the impact of different healthy food strategies and policies on food purchasing and intake patterns.
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