Evaluating Food Access Strategies in Austin, Texas

Evaluating Food Access Strategies in Austin
Generating Urban Food Systems Solutions
Evaluating Food Access Strategies in Austin
Generating Urban Food Systems Solutions

Program Contact

Dr. John Reich
jreich@foundationfar.org

Alexandra Van Den Berg

Sustainable Food Center

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

  • Urban Food Systems

Providing Healthy Food without Displacing Communities

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.

Why this research is important

This research is modeling how a multipronged approach to promoting healthy diets best provides access and education without risking gentrification.

  • Growers will gain new markets in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
  • Small neighborhood stores will have easier access to healthier food for their customers.
  • Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color will have easier physical and economic access to healthy, affordable, nutritious food.
  • The models created through this grant will provide the City of Austin with strategies to increase food resiliency among low-income households.
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.

Details About this Research

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.

The Latest

Insights

Our Insights highlight unique perspectives from across the food and agriculture community.

See all Insights

Supporting low-income families during the pandemic: Can emergency feeding programs effectively provide food security during school closures?

Erin Love, Dr. Becca Jablonski, Marion Kalb

PIP is Pioneering Indoor Agriculture Collaborations

John Reich, Ph.D.

Scientific Program Director Bolstering Healthy Food Systems

Feedback Loops and Food Access

Gwendolyn Donley

2019-2022 FFAR Fellow

News

The latest news and updates from FFAR.

See all News

Researchers Investigate the Promise of Food Procurement

Pairing Regenerative Farming and Solar Energy Production to Improve Urban Resilience

FFAR Grant Develops Premium Strawberry Flavors for Indoor Growing Environments

FFAR & Schmidt Futures Release Report to Advance a Circular U.S. Bioeconomy

FFAR & WUR Launch Nature-Based Future Challenge

FFAR Grant Advances Equitable Food Access

FFAR Grant Addresses Food Waste Reduction Challenges

PIP Consortium Promotes Indoor Tomato Farming

FFAR is Accepting Pre-Proposals for 2022 Seeding Solutions Program

FFAR Pioneers Vertical Farming to Grow Food in Cities, Other Nontraditional Spaces

Novel Technology Connects Buyers to Farmers

FFAR is Accepting Pre-Proposals for Seeding Solutions 2021

FFAR’s Precision Indoor Plants Consortium Launches Initial Lettuce Project

FFAR Grant Advances Urban Food Systems Through Community Networks

FFAR-Funded Study Promotes Food Security During Pandemic

FFAR Funds Emergency Research to Address Coronavirus

Ohio State Mansfield and FFAR Launch $2 Million Food System Project

Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) Consortium to Revolutionize Agriculture

FFAR Awards $4.4 Million to Research Teams Working to Transform Food Systems in Colorado, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Texas to Deliver Better Health, Economic Opportunities for Urban Communities

FFAR and AgLaunch Host Convening Event in Memphis to Prioritize Research and Commercialization Objectives for Cropping Systems of the Future

Breakthroughs

Tools, technologies and strategies from the research we fund.

See all Breakthroughs

Emergency Food Provision for Children & Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Breakthrough for Integrating Community and Modeling Efforts to Evaluate Impacts and Tradeoffs of Food System Interventions

Want to do more to support our pioneering research?