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Encouraging food access through land and transportation policy (USA)

May 19, 2011

A recent report from the Food Access and Transportation in South Los Angeles Project highlights key recommendations around transportation and land-use policy to help residents gain greater access to grocery stores and farmers’ markets. These recommendations may prove useful to other low-income urban areas with little access to healthy food.

A survey of food retail locations in the report area demonstrated a lower number of grocery stores per capita compared to more affluent areas of Los Angeles. In addition, of those food retailers present, the majority were liquor stores or convenience corner stores, which are less likely to carry fresh produce or protein-rich foods.

Some of the final recommendations include:

  • Increasing public transit to healthy food locations;
  • Providing incentives to food markets to provide free or low-cost transportation to customers;
  • Allowing sales of food on city sidewalks with appropriate health regulation;
  • Locating new supermarkets near mixed-use development; and
  • Supporting the development of a regional food hub that would incorporate resident perspectives.

The recommendations are based on best practices and policies in other parts of the USA, as well as surveys of food retailers and mobile food vendors in the area, maps of food retail locations and transportation routes and community consultations.

The Food Access and Transportation in South Los Angeles Project is led by a collaborative of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles; the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College; and Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.

See “Bringing people to good food and good food to people: Enhancing food access through transportation and land use policies,” March 2011

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