Joy Casnovsky, MPAff
Sustainable Food Center
The Tipping Points Program explores the complexities of local food systems. Grantees collaborate with community organizations in five US cities to model aspects of regional food systems to reduce food insecurity, improve health and enhance economic outcomes.
This program is no longer accepting applications
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is highlighting food system deficiencies and the fragility of emergency food systems. We expanded existing grants to Feeding America and five Tipping Points Program awardees to assess how food systems and especially emergency food systems, operate and adapt in times of stress.
We saw an opportunity for the Tipping Point grantees to use Feeding America’s data to expand their existing models. We awarded a total of $482,642 to the five grantees to examine the trade-offs associated with policy and programming interventions in response to COVID-19.
Health is linked to regional food systems and environment, but not all food systems are created equally. Many low-income residents in American cities lack access to affordable, nutritious foods.
The Tipping Points Program supports projects that identify leverage, or tipping, points in food systems where specific changes can improve overall community health and the economy.
In May 2018, we awarded five grants to multidisciplinary research teams to build mathematical and computational models of how factors and interventions within local food systems interact. Our grantees investigate:
Sustainable Food Center
In Austin, Texas, the city health department funded Fresh for Less farm stands, mobile markets and healthy corner stores to increase access to affordable, healthy foods. We provided a $996,560 grant to Sustainable Food Center and Fresh for Less to study fruit and vegetable purchasing and consumption, food security and obesity. The research team also examines how long it takes for the community to adopt a new intervention.
University at Albany
City-level food recovery programs are vast networks of overlapping delivery and incentive systems that, when inefficient, fail to get fresh nutritious foods to underserved people. With a $433,152 FFAR grant, Dr. Feingold and her University at Albany team evaluate the components of fresh produce recovery and redistribution in Albany, New York. This research is also identifying local inefficiencies, opportunities for growth and system resilience through dynamic modeling.
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Many cities have initiatives to combat nutrition inequality. However, these programs are often separate and distinct even in the same city. With a FFAR grant of $936,418, Dr. Friedman and Case Western Reserve University researchers are developing decision-making tools to maximize the equitable impact of food systems efforts in Cleveland, Ohio. The team is exploring the interdependent relationships of existing initiatives within the food system.
Michigan State University
Due to Flint, Michigan’s economic decline, aid from all levels of government and various organizations poured in to decrease rates of food insecurity and malnutrition. Dr. Gray, Dr. Laura Schmitt-Olabisi and other Michigan State University researchers received a $1 million FFAR grant to determine how interventions from government and external organizations can use resources more efficiently to promote healthy and affordable food access in Flint.
Colorado State University
Cities across the country are increasingly promoting food policies to support vibrant, healthy communities. However, little research examines how these policies also support the entire region. Dr. Jablonski and Colorado State University researchers received a $1 million FFAR grant to study how the proposed goals of the Denver Food Vision impact urban food security and health, as well as regional environmental, economic and farm viability outcomes.
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