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Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies for Low Income Communities
 

Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies for Low Income Communities

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Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies for Low Income Communities

Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies for Low Income Communities

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    Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies for Low Income Communities Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies for Low Income Communities Document Transcript

    • Homeward Bound Page 1 INTRODUCTION
    • Page 2 Homeward BoundI n 1993, a UCLA research team published with individual needs in securing an ad- a comprehensive study of the food sys equate diet, while the lack of food security tem, Seeds of Change: Strategies for referred to community and ownership is-Food Security for the Inner City. The study sues: access, availability, resources, price,included a detailed case study evaluating quality, environmental considerations, in-the ability of the food system to meet the come levels, and other community-relatedneeds of the residents of one South Central factors. Food security strategies might in-Los Angeles neighborhood. As part of that clude direct grower-to-consumer programsevaluation, the study documented a wide like farmers’ markets, urban agriculturerange of food insecurity indicators: opportunities such as community gardens, or community food production facilities• 27% of area residents reported they went such as bakeries or tortillerias. Programs hungry an average of five days every designed to address supermarket location month; and transportation access needs also repre- sented possible food security initiatives.• The absence of nearby supermarkets was These could include joint venture operations compounded by lower than average ve- to attract supermarkets in low income areas hicle ownership. Further, bus lines did as well as to create community benefits such not correspond to market location. As a as new paratransit services for residents result, the lack of transportation for food without cars, or other innovative transpor- buying purposes was defined by resi- tation programs for increased food access. dents as a major community problem; Thus the concept of food security, particu- larly in the context of food access, empha-• Food prices for residents of the case sizes the importance of location or place in study area — who spent 36% of their regional, municipal, and neighborhood- annual income on food — averaged $275 level (e.g., community) settings. more per year than residents of a selected suburban area who spent 12% of their Among the range of food insecurity indica- income on food; tors, the issues of access stand out as a pri- mary problem area in which several other• The lack of fresh quality produce illus- factors such as price, nutritional quality, or trated the issue of nutritional deficien- storage capability are significantly related. cies and related health and learning Yet despite the prominence of access needs problems that are endemic in low income in urban food systems, research by food sys- areas.1 tem analysts regarding transportation issues has been relatively sparse. TransportationIn response to such pronounced food secu- planners, meanwhile, have undertaken spe-rity needs, the Seeds of Change study also cific research involving equity consider-analyzed a number of recent, largely explor- ations in transportation planning, includingatory strategies designed to empower com- the limits of transportation systems address-munities and shift the focus of intervention ing the needs of low income communitiesfrom “hunger” to “food security”, a concept and the problems associated with low ve-that had up to then been used primarily in hicle ownership in car-dependent commu-the international development literature. nities like Los Angeles.2 Only a few studies,The study pointed out that the concept of however, have explored the connection be-hunger had been predominantly associated tween access and availability of fresh, high
    • Homeward Bound Page 3quality, competitively priced food in such proach to customer transportation needscommunities, even as surveys have indi- and the dearth of transportation planningcated that the access/availability link re- initiatives that incorporate food access, theremains a powerful concern in low income have nevertheless been recent attempts bycommunities.3 community organizations, food market managers, and government agencies to ad-The most common focus, both of research dress this issue. Out of these efforts, a vari-and advocacy work on those subjects, has ety of transportation/food access programsbeen the relationship between vehicle own- are currently in operation, at a developmentership and supermarket location.4 As de- stage, or represent concepts still needing toscribed in this Report, the trend towards be implemented. And while these programssupermarket abandonment of low income do suggest that opportunities for a food ac-neighborhoods that significantly escalated cess approach do exist, they remain sepa-during the 1960s and 1970s exacerbated an rate from any more integrated transporta-already existing problem tion strategies on the partof transportation access. of either retailers, trans-Even with the renewed portation planning agen-interest of food chains in Even with the renewed cies, or various servicerelocating to certain low interest of food chains in providers. For food ac-income urban communi- relocating to certain low cess to be more success-ties, supermarkets have income urban communi- fully addressed as a com-failed to directly address munity food security ap- ties, supermarkets havethe transportation ques- proach it needs to becometion. In analyzing retail failed to directly address part of a transportationindustry approaches, for the transportation ques- planning as well as foodexample, project team re- tion. system planning process.searchers have noted thenearly complete absence Homeward Bound is di-of any discrete transportation policy of the vided into five Sections. Section I, Foodmajor supermarket chains. This situation Access and The Transit Dependent, identi-prevails despite the clear (and often recog- fies a range of issues concerning the lack ofnized) benefits of such a policy, such as an food access in low income communities. Itincreased customer base or the possible re- elaborates the specific contributions to theduction in the replacement cost of shopping problems of food insecurity associated withcarts (which represent a considerable, access needs, such as supermarket locationthough hidden, cost associated with transit or nutritional deficiencies. It includes a lit-dependency and the lack of food access). erature review on access issues from both aWhere food retail managers have sought to food systems and transportation planningdevelop transportation programs for their perspective. Section II, Current Policies,stores, they have been influenced primarily reviews and analyzes the nature of the pro-by “goodwill” and “community service” grams and policies that have been estab-considerations, rather than an evaluation of lished regarding food access by both publictransportation/access factors in the context and private sector groups. These includeof store performance. 5 local and federal food and transportation programs, and the approach of the food re-Despite the absence of a supermarket ap- tail industry. Section III, Exploratory Pro-
    • Page 4 Homeward Boundgrams — Case Studies, describes variousexploratory and innovative programs thathave emerged in recent years, representingopportunities available for improving foodaccess in low income communities. Theseprograms are primarily, though not exclu-sively associated with paratransit services.While many of these programs have beensuccessful in terms of their (often looselydefined) objectives (as well as certain unan-ticipated benefits), they remain discrete, dis-tinctive examples, not linked to any broaderpolicy or planning approaches.Section IV, New Models for Greater FoodAccess, in seeking to build on the potentialapplicability of the kinds of programs de-scribed in Section III, identifies three typesof models for developing new policy andprogrammatic approaches in the food accessarea. These include a private, joint venture(public/private partnership), and non-profitapproach. Finally, a concluding section de-tails the Report’s policy and programmaticrecommendations for expanding food ac-cess.Food access, we have concluded, is an issuethat has yet to fully locate its own policy andprogrammatic niche. Yet, in an era of transitdependencies and growing food insecurityindicators, food access has become a grow-ing topic for both anti-hunger activists, thefood industry, and policymakers. By inte-grating food security and transportationplanning and policy development,policymakers, transit officials, the food in-dustry (including most crucially the foodretail sector), and community groups havethe capacity to establish more expansivefood access strategies beyond the limited, adhoc measures that exist today. The opportu-nities, our Report makes clear, are available,even if programs and policies still need tobe nourished and systematized.
    • Homeward Bound Page 5 ENDNOTES: INTRODUCTION1. Seeds of Change: Strategies for Food Se-curity for the Inner City, Linda Ashman etal., Department of Urban Planning, Univer-sity of California, Los Angeles, June 19932. See for example “Social Impacts of UrbanTransportation Decisions: Equity Issues”,David Hodge, in The Geography of UrbanTransportation, Edited by Susan Hanson,New York: The Guilford Press, 1995; The Carand the City: The Automobile, the Built En-vironment, and Daily Urban Life, edited byMartin Wachs and Margaret Crawford, AnnArbor: University of Michigan Press, 19923. See for example Community Retail NeedsAssessment, A Market Research Report Pre-pared for RLA, ConsumerQuest, Los Ange-les, May 3, 1995; see also The RelationshipBetween Transportation Services and UrbanActivities: The Food Retail DistributionCase, Youngbin Lee Yim, University of Cali-fornia, Berkeley: Institute of TransportationStudies, June 1990.4. See, for example, Public Voice for Foodand Health Policy, No Place to Shop: Chal-lenges and Opportunities Facing the Devel-opment of Supermarkets in Urban America,Washington D.C.: Public Voice, February19965. Seeds of Change, p.133 In one interview forthis Report, a supermarket executive actu-ally defined shopping cost losses as consti-tuting their transportation policy; that is,since stolen carts provided a means to trans-port the bags of groceries to the home, that,in effect, created a transportation “service”.
    • Page 6 Homeward Bound SECTION I: FOOD ACCESS AND THE TRANSIT DEPENDENT: WHERE TO GET FOOD AND HOW TO GET THERE Food Access and Community Food Security
    • Homeward Bound Page 7A crucial beginning point in evaluat nities, such as supermarket location, that are ing community food security is the access-based or have food access implica- relationship question of food access tions; b) the absence or availability of freshand transit dependency. Food access can be or high quality produce in different commu-defined as the ability of people to obtain the nities, such as through farmers’ markets, andfood items they need from the food outlets the health or nutritional implications of lackavailable in a given area, within the limits of access to such fresh produce; and c) theof their ability to get there and get back, nature of the transportation issues associ-among other factors. Any part of that rela- ated with food access in low income com-tionship — the nature of the food items and munities, including equity considerations,outlets available, the means and availabil- and the focus or lack of focus on intra-neigh-ity of transit, and the distance between resi- borhood needs, such as food shopping, indence and outlet — contributes to the mea- relation to some of the current transit plan-sure of food access for the residents of a par- ning approaches.ticular community. Put another way, themeasure of access is one crucial yardstick ofhow much food insecurity exists within that FOOD INSECURITY INDICATORScommunity. 1 Supermarket Location and Food AccessTransit dependent areas, in turn, can be de-fined as communities with a lower than av- Low income urban areas across the countryerage vehicle ownership within a given re- are disproportionately underserved by thegion, defined for the purposes of this study supermarket industry. In one analysis of 21as less than 80 percent. This definition re- medium to large sized cities sampled, su-flects the dominant role of the automobile permarkets in 19 of those cities were shownin both transportation planning and the to be inequitably distributed.2 Of those 19transportation infrastructure that has been cities, there were 30% fewer stores per capitaestablished in relation to that dominance. in the lowest income zip codes than in theThe problem of transit dependency is par- highest income zip codes. Similarly, thoseticularly exacerbated with respect to food zip codes with the greatest number of per-access concerns, given the problems of loca- sons on public assistance had 20% fewertion, pricing, and quality of both food and supermarkets than the zip codes that havetransportation services available. Indications a low percentage of persons receiving pub-of food insecurity then also underline the lic assistance. 3 Studies in cities such asproblems associated with transit depen- Cleveland, St Paul, East St Louis, IL, Sandency. Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas, underscore these statistics, painting a moreThis section describes access-related prob- detailed picture of the lack of food access inlems in transit dependent communities in- specific neighborhoods. 4volving two types of food outlets: full ser-vice food markets (e.g., supermarket chains) In Austin, Texas, for example, only one su-and direct marketing arrangements (e.g., permarket serves every 3,910 households infarmers’ markets). Several different dimen- the primarily Latino low income neighbor-sions of those food access/transit depen- hood of the Eastside as compared to one perdency relationships are explored: a) food 3,170 households in Travis County as ainsecurity indicators in low income commu- whole. An analysis of the supermarket in-
    • Page 8 Homeward Bounddustry reveals that increasing levels of con- son, in 1990, there was one full service foodcentration and centralization resulted in the store for every 26,400 people in what isloss to Texas communities of 500 supermar- broadly defined as inner city Los Angeles,kets from 1982 to 1987. Within the past year, versus one store per 15,200 people in thethree stores serving low income communi- suburban San Fernando Valley area. In eco-ties in Austin have closed while another nomic development terms, this deficit canthree have opened up in suburban commu- be viewed in light of its potential for sup-nities. According to Kate Fitzgerald, direc- porting new stores. In the 52 square miletor of Austin’s Sustainable Food Center, the “impacted area,” there exists $412 millionsponsoring organization of “Access De- of unmet annual demand for groceries,nied,” a report detailing food insecurity on which translates into 750,000 square feet ofthe Eastside, “Each of these supermarket selling space, or the equivalent of about 20relocations show how affluent neighbor- average size supermarkets. 6hoods gain food resources at the expense oflower income areas.”5 The absence of supermarkets in core urban areas has not always been the case. The shiftFitzgerald’s comments raise the issue of su- from urban core locations has its roots in thepermarket redlining and abandonment of 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, when supermarketinner city areas. Los Angeles represents an industry restructuring and the migration ofexcellent case study of how the industry re- the middle class to the suburbs led to whatstructured over the past two decades, dis- has been identified by some analysts as anproportionately affecting low income resi- “abandonment” of inner city neighbor-dents. The issue of food access became hoods. Supermarket flight during this pe-highly visible as a result of the 1992 civil dis- riod has been documented in multiple loca-turbances, and subsequent public commit- tions across the country. In Los Angeles, thements by virtually every supermarket chain number of chain supermarkets within anto rebuild in the “impacted areas.” In what area broadly defined as part of the inner cityis generally considered one of the most com- or urban core shrunk from 44 in 1975 to 31petitive food retailing markets in the nation, in 1991.7 Also, in 1975, one study found thatour research has documented how food low income communities in eight cities (Bir-store location patterns in Los Angeles mingham, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, LA,evolved so that large areas came to be dra- Newark, St Louis, and San Antonio) had onmatically underserved by the food retailing the average 32.7% fewer supermarkets thanindustry. higher income areas within those same cit- ies.8 Similarly, in 1984, a Hartford, Connecti-Computer mapping of supermarket loca- cut report found that 11 of 13 supermarketstions overlaid with census data reveals that within city limits had closed their doors.9over one million persons in Los AngelesCounty reside in areas where access to su- As described in several studies, the shift ofpermarkets may be problematic. These “su- supermarket locations outside the urbanpermarket deficient areas” (see Map 1) are core coincided and ultimately convergeddefined as places without a supermarket with parallel trends regarding populationwithin walking distance (.5 mile radius), and shifts and new transportation corridors.10with a transit dependent population ( The move made sense from a development>17.7% of households, or the 80th percen- perspective. Further, it was easier to buildtile in the 1990 Census). By way of compari- larger stores in the suburbs because large
    • Homeward Bound Page 9 MAP 1
    • Page 10 Homeward Boundtracts of land were still available. This en-kets. Inner city stores tend to have higherabled stores to stock more non-food items operating costs than suburban stores. Secu-with higher profit margins, increasing their rity costs, greater “shrink” (loss of productcash flow and profits. Supermarkets also due to employee theft, shoplifting, etc.),had an easier time extracting concessions greater numbers of bad checks, and high la-from expanding suburbs in need of a tax bor costs, due to frequent turnover and morebase and services for their residents. Demo- inexperienced employees, account for agraphics, development forces, shifts in trans- large percentage of the difference in operat-portation patterns and the pressures of the ing expenses. Other factors include highermarket all pushed the supermarkets to tar- real estate taxes, insurance, repair and main-get their efforts toward the suburbs. tenance to older stores, depreciation, and shopping cart loss. 11 Intra-firm logisticsWhile the industry focused its resources on make it more expensive and labor-intensivebuilding new stores in suburban locales, it to operate older inner city stores. Smaller,simultaneously began to less mechanized loadingsell or close down urban docks make for morecore markets located in or Inner city residents not complicated deliveryadjacent to low income schedules and higher la-neighborhoods. This fur- only have fewer super- bor costs. The demand forther reinforced the trend markets in their neigh- culture specific foods alsotoward increasing con- borhoods, but less food can be problematic forcentration of the super- access due to restricted standardized productmarket industry. In mixes. 12 Finally, monthlySouthern California, our transportation options. food shopping patternsresearch indicates that are uneven with pur-from 1963 to 1991, the chases concentrated to-number of chains with ward the beginning of thefour or more stores decreased from 34 to 14, month (when government benefits are dis-while the average number of stores operated tributed), resulting in greater labor sched-by each chain rose by 283%. The top four uling costs and difficulties.chains controlled 73% of the stores in 1991as compared to 43% in 1963. The acquisition Inner city stores typically experience lowerof entire chains in this process fueled the sales and profits. Because of customers’drive toward concentration in ownership, modest disposable incomes and large eld-leaving the remaining companies with erly populations which often inhabit innerheavy debt burdens. In order to generate city areas, per customer expenditures are fre-needed capital, heavily indebted chains sold quently lower than average, affecting totaloff smaller, less profitable stores, many of sales volume. Older, smaller stores have lesswhich were located in or adjacent to low shelf space to stock non-food and luxuryincome neighborhoods. items with high profit margins. As a result, profit as a percentage of sales (and on a per Location and Equity: square foot basis) tends to be substantially Issues Facing Urban Supermarkets lower than for suburban markets.13The problem of location is exacerbated by Despite an increasing concentration in own-the operating conditions of inner city mar- ership, the supermarket industry remains a
    • Homeward Bound Page 11highly competitive business with razor thin For those households without access to aprofit margins that are as low as 1%. Com- vehicle and at a lengthy distance (e.g.> 3-5petition results in lower prices, and is most miles) to a full service food market, trans-prevalent between chains in the same trade portation options are both limited and prob-areas (the geographical confines from which lematic. Transport via taxis and/or buses ormarkets draw their clientele), typically lim- paying for a ride can be costly, reducing aited to a few square miles. In inner city com- family’s food budget by up to $400 permunities however, the absence of supermar- year.17 Moreover, bus lines rarely are de-kets often translates into a lack of competi- signed to serve intra-neighborhood foodtion, as a single store may dominate a given shopping patterns, as described elsewheretrade area. Little competition combined in this Report. Instead, as in the case of onewith high operating costs and low sales vol- South Central Los Angeles community, theyume often results in higher prices for inner are planned around commuter routes, feed-city shoppers.14 This problem is exacerbated ing into downtown. 18 The recent examplesfor supermarkets in areas with low vehicle described in Section III of the Austin circu-ownership rates, which are likely to face lator route and the K-Trans route extensioneven less competition, as patron immobility in Knoxville are especially significant as ex-shrinks the trade area. ceptions to the rule.Transportation Barriers for Urban Because of the high cost of door to doorSupermarkets transportation (taxis) and the inconvenience of mass transit (long waits, multiple trans-Inner city residents not only have fewer su- fers, long walks to bus stops), carrying gro-permarkets in their neighborhoods, but less ceries home becomes a frequent occurrencefood access due to restricted transportation despite its problematic nature. In one lowoptions. Automobile ownership is less com- income neighborhood in South Central Losmon among the poor than among the non- Angeles, one third of the residents surveyedpoor. Only 22% of food stamp recipients reported difficulties carrying their groceriesdrove their own car to purchase groceries home, roughly the same number of personsas compared to 96% of non-food stamp re- without access to a vehicle.19 On a morecipients according to a USDA study.15 In the anecdotal level, a 1995 Los Angeles Times ar-majority of the 21 cities studied by the Uni- ticle profiled a young woman with two chil-versity of Connecticut’s Food Policy Market- dren riding the bus back from the supermar-ing Center, those zip codes with the fewest ket, descriptive of one of the numerous dailysupermarkets per capita also had the low- obstacles confronting transit dependent ur-est percentage of vehicle ownership. In some ban residents. The article specificallycases, such as New York City, the poorest chronicled the woman’s struggles gettingzip codes as defined by percentage of house- home while carrying several bags of grocer-holds receiving public assistance, had car ies. At the same time, shopping choices be-ownership rates of less than 40%. In the other came constrained (e.g., she had to choosecities, it hovered between 60% to 80%. By between purchasing a gallon of milk and acomparison, wealthier neighborhoods in jug of laundry detergent, given her inabil-these cities have vehicle ownership rates ity to carry both home). 20generally in excess of 95% (with the notedexception of New York). 16 As a result of the difficulties in carrying sev- eral bags of groceries long distances, many
    • Page 12 Homeward Boundinner city residents opt to “borrow” grocery In both cases, the ensuing result of reducedcarts. In some neighborhoods, removal of the purchasing power from an individual stand-carts from the premises may be so endemic point is increased hunger and reduced abil-that it results in cart shortages. Shopping cartity to purchase non-staples with greaterloss has proven to be such a problem at one price elasticity such as fruits and vegetables.East St Louis store that they are locked up Up to one billion dollars in food stamp pur-and patrons charged a quarter deposit. 21 chasing power may be lost due to higherWaits of up to 20-30 minutes for a shopping prices in inner city markets. 24 A price com-cart are not uncommon in another Austin parison in Los Angeles found that a marketmarket. 22 (Section II provides a more de- basket containing items necessary for a mini-tailed discussion of the shopping cart/food mally nutritionally adequate diet would costaccess link). a family of three $285 more per year when purchased in inner city supermarkets thanIn sum, transportation obstacles prevent in- in comparable suburban markets. 25 Whilener city residents from shopping where they supermarkets in low income neighborhoodswould like. For those households without may charge high prices (for the reasons de-access to a vehicle, distance, not price or se- scribed in the previous section), corner momlection, is the primary factor determining and pop stores’ prices are often astronomi-choice of food store.23 Food shopping be- cal. With their lack of an economy of scale,comes a question of not what one would like small stores often purchase their items atto buy, but what is available, given mobility near retail prices at “cash and carry” out-restrictions. In this context, the development lets, and must charge substantial margins onof a centralized supermarket-based food their goods. Prices at mom and pop storesdistribution system, as facilitated by the have been reported to be 42%-64% highergrowth in popular ownership of the auto- than at surrounding supermarkets. 26mobile, and in conjunction with the unre-sponsiveness of the mass transit sector to the Just as mom and pop stores must chargefood shopping-related transportation needs high margins to be economically viable, theyof the poor, has substantially diminished the must stock goods with high profit margins.food security of many inner city communi- Limited shelf and cooler space combinedties. with the costs of spoilage preclude them from carrying a full line of healthy foods and produce. Surveys of mom and pop stores HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL have found little in the way of produce, IMPLICATIONS which, when present, includes an abun- dance of packaged processed foods, is oftenThe Small Store Syndrome of poor quality and aged, and often provides little selection of low-fat products, such asPoor food access negatively affects the health skim milk. Research of Los Angeles “momof inner city consumers through three fun- and pops” found it impossible to purchasedamental avenues. As shown above, transit a nutritionally adequate diet as defined bydependent residents often must dedicate the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan in any one orsubstantial resources to obtain transporta- combination of these stores. By way of ex-tion to and from the store, reducing funds ample, in another low income community,available for food purchases. Similarly, high only five of 38 convenience stores stockedprices reduce the buying power of the poor. the ingredients for a balanced meal. Of these
    • Homeward Bound Page 13stores, only half carried milk, while all sold typical measure of maternal nutrition. Child-alcohol.27 hood anemia, due to poor nutrition, is found in 20-33% of all black children. Heart dis-Diet and Health Consequences ease (related to saturated fat intake among other factors) is twice as common among Af-The lack of availability of healthy foods can rican Americans as among whites. Africanaggravate high rates of diet-related diseases Americans tend to suffer from obesity atto which Latinos and African Americans greater rates than among whites. Blacks also(who often are the primary demographic have higher rates of diabetes and stomachgroups in inner cities) are most vulnerable. cancer than whites. 30One of the most important outcomes of poornutrition is increased incidence of chronic Latinos suffer from higher rates of a varietydisease; studies show that 35-60% of all can- of diet related diseases than whites. Latinoscers in the US are diet-related. 28 According have three times the likelihood of contract-to a leading expert on the relationship be- ing diabetes than whites. Latinos also suffertween disease and diet among minorities: from excess incidence of cancers of the stom- ach, pancreas, esophagus, gallbladder, and Dietary factors are epidemiologically cervix, and lower rates of breast and colon linked to chronic diseases, include cancer. Obesity and higher prevalence of overconsumption of kilocalories, and cardiovascular diseases are also common fat, leading to diabetes mellitus, obe- among Latinos. 31 sity, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, excess intakes of sodium or Farmers Markets: Unrealized Opportuni- salt- cured or pickled foods-, leading ties to hypertension or stomach cancer and inadequate consumption of foods or Farmers markets can play an important role nutrients that may protect against car- in providing access to healthy foods in in- diovascular disease, cancer, or os- ner city communities. Farmers’ markets teoporosis, (e.g. vitamin A, carry fresh, high-quality produce, often caretenoids, vitamin C, picked the very day of potassium, calcium, fi- sale. They are relatively ber, and complex car- Food shopping becomes easy to establish, requir- bohydrates, fruits and a question of not what ing only a few thousand vegetables, cruciferous one would like to buy, dollars in start up costs vegetables, or beta but what is available, and perhaps 6 months to carotene rich fruits and one year lead time, as vegetables). 29 given mobility restric- compared to a new super- tions market which may re-Latinos and African- quire 2-5 years and mil-Americans in the US suf- lions of dollars in capitalfer from higher than average rates of chronic outlays. Produce is usually priced competi-disease. Poverty, lack of education, and ac- tively with or below supermarket prices,cess to health care may influence dispropor- depending upon the season and loss lead-tionate morbidity levels for many minori- ers. 32ties. African-Americans have a 110% higherrate of low birth weight infants, which is a However, farmers’ markets have not
    • Page 14 Homeward Boundemerged as a option for improving inner city bind from food system analysts, most of thefood access to high quality foods. Farmers’ analysis of the nature of transportation ser-markets, to begin with, carry only a finite vices for low income communities has beenselection of goods, such as produce, eggs, limited to the discussion of concerns aboutnuts, honey, fish, juices and jams, and equity — particularly pricing — and onlybreads. Canned and dried goods, or other tangentially to the question of access to com-manufactured foods are normally prohibited munity services, such as food shopping.from sale. They are also limited in time andspace, open only once a week for a few hours Equity issues have primarily been examineda day, when many people are at work or by evaluating the net distributional effectshave other access constraints. Moreover, of benefits and costs of transit subsidiesefforts to establish farmers’ markets in low among different income and racial/ethnicincome neighborhoods have been few and groups.33 Benefits are typically defined asnot universally successful. In Los Angeles, including the level and quality of service,while there are eight farmers markets access to transit services, and types ofin the relatively compact middle service (e.g., bus, rail, subway).and upper income Westside Costs are defined as includingneighborhoods, there are revenue sources such asonly two serving the geo- Ultimately, inner city taxes, and fares chargedgraphically more expan- transit services have per customer. Equity con-sive supermarket deficient not been oriented to- siderations also addressareas of the city. These pat- ward intra-neighbor- the allocation as well asterns have been repeated hood needs such as the types of benefits andin other urban communi- costs. While a few studiesties as well. food shopping. have pointed to certain fa- vorable distributional im- pacts on the poor, other stud- TRANSPORTATION BIASES ies that have focused on alloca- tion decisions have clearly suggested thatEquity Issues federal policies, including subsidy pay- ments, create powerful inequities in transitLow income/transit dependent communi- resource allocations which ultimately en-ties almost invariably face a double bind re- courage regressive fare pricing approachesgarding food access issues. On the one hand, which most heavily impact lower-incomeas described above, low income communi- transit riders. 34ties have fewer full service food markets,fewer farmers’ markets, higher priced food Among such inequities, the most prominentitems, and health and nutritional problems form of transit subsidy, above and beyondexacerbated by the lack of food outlets. At the historic funding of automobile-orientedthe same time, low income communities infrastructure such as the federal highwayhave fewer automobiles per capita and ulti- system, has been the federal focus on com-mately rely on transportation services that muter rail, which in turn has been the modeare often not only inconvenient but also in- used by the most affluent transit users. Byequitable in their pricing and in the way subsidizing longer distance commutes be-transportation routes are established. While tween home and work (primarily designedsome attention has been paid to this double to accommodate central business districts as
    • Homeward Bound Page 15opposed to neighborhood locations), other a dynamic effect on both the size and loca-transit operations such as inner city bus tion of food retail outlets during the post-routes tend to cross-subsidize the longer war period, most notably in the decades oftrips. As a consequence, low income and/ the 1970s and 1980s. One study, which fo-or minority riders receive fewer subsidy cused on the interaction between transpor-benefits than their more affluent, primarily tation systems and food retail distributionAnglo counterparts. This problem of un- systems in the Seattle metropolitan area,equal subsidies is further exacerbated in emphasized that supermarket trends in lo-periods of fiscal retrenchment among pub- cation and size had become most heavilylic agencies, including the federal govern- influenced by freeway location in that re-ment. When there is decreasing federal rev- gion. Thus the development of a postwarenue support for transit, combined with freeway system, the trends towardssuch factors as declining farebox revenues suburbanization, and the shift towardsand/or falling transit patronage, transit op- larger food stores requiring longer trips forerators, such as the Los Angeles Metropoli- routine food shopping became the dominanttan Transit Authority (MTA), have raised the pattern in the food retail/transit relation-fares impacting low income transit users, ships.36reinforcing rather than reversing the biastoward longer as opposed to shorter trips. The current concerns regarding food access,In the case of the MTA, this longer distance/ however, have coincided with the modesthigher fares for the poor transit bias ulti- though nevertheless significant reorienta-mately became the basis of a class action suit tion of the food retail sector toward urbanbased on Title VI of the 1994 Civil Rights inner city sites and variations in store size,Act.35 particularly in regions such as southern Cali- fornia where the availability of favorableFood Access Implications suburban sites has decreased. While freeway travel and high rates of automobile owner-The long distance/commute bias in transit ship favored suburban locations and theoperations has significant consequences in development of food stores (including theterms of food access. Food outlets within superstores) of 50,000 square feet andurban areas are primarily residential based; greater, the problems of scarce (and expen-that is, locations are determined in relation sive) land, lower rates of automobile own-to such factors as housing density, neighbor- ership and a transit system favoring longerhood demographics, and land availability distance/commute rather than communityfor such considerations as store and park- needs have created significant barriers foring lot size. Where transportation factors the development of full service food mar-come into play are those areas of lower den- kets in the inner city while increasing thesity offset by more favorable demographics problems of food access. Even in areas where(e.g., suburban locations which were respon- inner city transit systems such as bus ser-sible for much of the growth in the food re- vice have been operational, the issues oftail sector during the 1970s and 1980s). But quality of service, the routing of the bus ser-the transportation focus in these instances vice, and fare/equity considerations havehas been associated with auto use factors compounded food access concerns. Ulti-such as proximity to a freeway exit and park- mately, inner city transit services have noting lot size. Along these lines, the extension been oriented toward intra-neighborhoodof the freeways into suburban areas has had needs such as food shopping.
    • Page 16 Homeward BoundThe Promise and Limits of Paratransit and communities. A term coined in the 1970s to describe the “full spectrum of transpor-The conceptual failure in transportation tation options that fell between the privateplanning to link transit development with automobile and the conventional bus,”38community services has been most directly paratransit has come to be seen by transpor-associated with the lack of services for spe- tation planners as a more flexible, service-cific constituencies, including commuters as oriented approach that is capable of connect-well as special needs populations, such as ing multiple places with multiple publics,seniors, the disabled, and others who are not including potentially for food access consid-capable of using (as opposed to owning) an erations. By way of example, the Nationwideautomobile. New paratransit services Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS),emerged in recent years in part to fill that which evaluates travel patterns from ran-vacuum. Two of the groups that became tar- domly sampled households, indicated, in itsgeted constituencies for such services were 1990-1991 survey, that passenger vans ac-AIDS victims and seniors. During the 1980s counted for 4.7% of all motorized shoppingand 1990s, when the debilitating effects of trips, compared to less than 1% (0.8%) bythe AIDS pandemic started to become bus transit. (The survey did not account forclearer, it also became apparent that those walk-in traffic, which other estimates havewith AIDS were a prime food access/tran- placed as high as 1/4th to 1/3rd of shop-sit dependent constituency. Many AIDS vic- ping trips at inner city food markets).39tims, for example, were no longer able todrive and had major dietary concerns. AIDS Despite its promise as a flexible transit strat-service organizations in turn established a egy, and the strong indications that existingrange of paratransit services to address those paratransit programs, such as van and jit-needs and consequently emerged as a sig- ney services, have been substantially usednificant advocate for food security and for shopping purposes, the development ofgreater food access.37 At the same time, a “shopping” focus for paratransit has re-paratransit programs for seniors oriented mained minimal. Moreover, the concept oftowards such needs as shopping, food paratransit has yet to establish a specificpreparation and delivery, and health care, food access dimension (that is, transporta-were developed and expanded in this same tion strategies designed to facilitate accessperiod. Aside from these efforts, paratransit to food markets). Ultimately, the intersect-options also became linked, during the 1980s ing problems of food access and transit de-and 1990s, with the increased focus on work pendency continue to reside at the marginsrelated automobile trip reductions as a con- of or distinct from the domains of food andsequence of increased air quality regula- transportation planning.tions. Paratransit services were specificallyinitiated through employer-based commuteprograms, such as ride sharing or van com-mute programs, in response to such air qual-ity regulations as the South Coast Air Qual-ity Management District’s Regulation XV.These trends began to elevate paratransit asa promising transportation strategy, particu-larly for transit-dependent constituencies
    • Homeward Bound Page 17 ENDNOTES: SECTION 11. Food access is sometimes used as a term Advocates, January 1996; Ashman, Linda et.that serves as a surrogate for food security al. Seeds of Change: Strategies for Food Se-itself. For example, one USDA study defines curity for the Inner City. Los Angeles: UCLAaccess as “the availability of a variety of Department of Urban Planning, 1993; Sus-nutritious and affordable food from places tainable Food Center, “Access Denied: Anthat are well maintained and offer products Analysis of Problems Facing East Austinreflecting the cultural makeup of the com- Residents in Their Attempts to Obtain Af-munity. Underserved areas are those in fordable Nutritious Food.” Austin, Texas,which residents face barriers to access, such 1995; A Status Report on Hunger andas high prices, limited food choices, poor Homelessness in America’s Cities, Washing-quality products or long distances to stores ton D.C.: U.S. Conference of Mayors, Decem-or markets. This latter factor — distance to ber, 1992.a food outlet — is the key determinant (asused in this report) linking food access to 5. Access Denied, p. 11transit dependency. See “Study Fact Sheet”,Study of Access to Nutritious and Afford- 6. See Grocery Store Market Potential Study,able Food, United States Department of Ag- pp. 2-3riculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Con-ducted by CRP Inc., FY 1995-1996. 7. Seeds of Change, p. 862. Data from the 21 SMSAs reviewed were 8. “Toward Revitalizing Inner-City Foodorganized by zip code. Sources included Retailing”, Donald Marion, USDA/Eco-census data and the 1995 database from Pro- nomic Research Service, National Food Re-gressive Grocer, a food retail industry trade view, Summer 1982, No. 19, pp. 22-25publication. See, The Urban Grocery StoreGap, Ronald Cotterill and Andrew Franklin, 9. The Poor Pay More: Food Shopping inFood Marketing Policy Center, Storrs, CT: Hartford, Hartford, Ct.: Citizens ResearchUniversity of Connecticut, April 1995 Education Network, et al., February 1984. p. ii3. No Place to Shop: Challenges and Oppor-tunities Facing the Development of Super- 10. Shopping Trips and Spatial Distributionmarkets in Urban America, Washington of Food Stores, Youngbin Yim, University ofD.C.: Public Voice for Food and Health California Transportation Center WorkingPolicy, 1996 paper No. 125, Berkeley, CA: UCTC, 19934. Grocery Store Market Potential Study. Los 11. “Toward Revitalizing Inner-City FoodAngeles: RLA, October 1995; Whetten, Retailing”, p. 23Michelle. The Development of the East StLouis Farmers’ Market. Winstanley/Indus- 12. Poor Pay More, pp.8-9try Park Neighborhood Organization, EastSt Louis, IL May 1994; Improving Access to 13. See Poor Pay More, pp. 6-8; “TowardFood in Low Income Communities: An In- Revitalizing Inner-City Food Retailing”,vestigation of Three Bay Area Neighbor- pp.22-23hoods. San Francisco: California Food Policy
    • Page 18 Homeward Bound14. See, for example, price comparisons in 1992.Seeds of Change, pp. 161-166; See also, PoorPay More, p. 12; No Place to Shop, pp. 34- 29. “Diet and Chronic Disease for Minority35. populations”, Shiriki Kumanyika, Journal of Nutrition Education, 22(2) as cited in Seeds15. Store Selection by Food Stamp House- of Change, pp. 31-32hold, Paul Nelson & James Zellner, NationalFood Review, Summer, 1980, p. 24, Cited in 30. “Hispanic Health in the United States”,Obtaining Food: Shopping Constraints on Council on Scientific Affairs, JAMA, 265 (2);the Poor, Report of the U.S. Select Commit- “The Slave Health Deficit: Racism andtee on Hunger, U.S. House of Representa- Health Outcomes”, W. Michael Byrd &tives, December 1987, p. 5. Linda Clayton, Health PAC Bulletin, 199116. See The Urban Grocery Store Gap 31. “Food Sources, Dietary Behavior, and the Saturated Food Intake of Latino Children”,17. Access Denied C.E. Basch, S. Shea, and P. Zybert, Ameri- can Journal of Pediatric Health, 82 (6), June18. Seeds of Change, pp. 155-156 1992; “Hispanic Health in the United States”19. Seeds of Change, pp. 171-172 32. Interview with Marion Kalb, Southland Farmers’ Market Association, January 1996;20. “Getting There the Hard Way Every Seeds of Change, pp. 212-213Day”, Jane Gross, Los Angeles Times, July 16,1995, p. 1 33. On equity issues in transit resource allo- cation and financing, see “Equity in transit21. The Development of the East St. Louis finance: Distribution of transit subsidy ben-Farmers’ Market efits and costs among income classes”, John Pucher, American Planning Association Jour-22. Access Denied nal, 1981, 47:387-407; “Socioeconomic char- acteristics of transit riders: Some recent evi-23. Seeds of Change, p.170 dence”, John Pucher, C. Hendrickson, and S. McNeil, Traffic Quarterly, 1981, 35:461-83;24. No Place to Shop, p. 10 “Distribution of the Tax Burden of Transit Subsidies in the United States”, John Pucher25. Seeds of Change, pp. 161-165 and I. Hirschman, 1981, Public Policy, 29:341- 367; Efficiency and Equity Implications of26. Improving Access to Food in Low Income Alternative Transit Fare Policies, RobertCommunities Cervero, M. Wachs, R. Berlin, & R. Gephart, 1980, Washington: Urban Mass Transporta-27. Seeds of Change; Access Denied tion Administration.28. “Nutrition and Cancer Prevention 34. “Literature Review: Social Equity in Pub-Knowledge, Beliefs, Attitudes, and Practices: lic Transportation Finance”, Eugene Kim,the 1987 National Health interview Survey”, Working Paper, School of Public Policy andN. Cotugna, A.F. Subar, et. al, Journal of the Social Research, University of California atAmerican Dietetic Association, 92 (8), August Los Angeles, August 1995; see also “Tax Eq-
    • Homeward Bound Page 19uity and the Finance of Transit”, RobertCervero, 1983, Transportation Quarterly,37(3):379-39435. “Variations in Fare Payment and PublicSubsidy by Race and Ethnicity: An Exami-nation of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Tran-sit Authority”, Brian Taylor et al., WorkingPaper, UCLA Institute of TransportationStudies”, January 199536. Shopping Trips and Spatial Distribu-tions of Food Stores, Youngbin Yim, Work-ing Paper UCTC No. 125, Berkeley: Univer-sity of California Transportation Center,1993; also Travel Distance and Market Sizein Food Retailing, Youngbin Yim, WorkingPaper UCTC No. 124, Berkeley: Universityof California Transportation Center, July,1990; The Effects of Transportation Serviceson the Scale of Food Retailing, YoungbinYim, Working Paper No. 112, Berkeley: Uni-versity of California Transportation Center,July, 199237. Testimony of Marcy Fenton at the Hear-ings on Food Security and Hunger, Los An-geles Voluntary Advisory Council on Hun-ger, April 20, 199538. Commercial Paratransit in the UnitedStates: Service Options, Markets and Perfor-mance, Robert Cervero, University of Cali-fornia Transportation Center, Working Pa-per No. 299, Berkeley: UCTC, January 1996,p. 1139. 1990-91 Nationwide Personal Transpor-tation Survey, cited in CommercialParatransit in the United States, p. 13
    • Page 20 Homeward Bound SECTION II: CURRENT FOOD ACCESS PLANNING AND POLICIES
    • Homeward Bound Page 21T he absence of any well developed cally in the food access area. food access framework for planning The most substantial effort to develop such or policy activity has meant a rela- an approach was a September 1995 USDAtive dearth of food access legislation as well Food Access conference hosted by the Of-as federal, state, or local agency programs. fice of Analysis and Evaluation. This twoFood planning is itself a relatively new con- day meeting brought together anti-hungercept, often segmented into distinctive and activists, supermarket executives, commu-separate constituent and policy arenas, such nity development practitioners, academics,as the federal food commodity or nutrition representatives from the financial commu-programs. Recent efforts to establish food nity, and government officials from a vari-planning initiatives at the state and local ety of agencies to explore the multi-facetedlevel, discussed below, are perhaps the most issues associated with food access in lowpromising forms of government related ac- income communities. The conference prima-tivity with the potential to address food ac- rily focused on the specific dynamics asso-cess needs. These planning initiatives, how- ciated with supermarket development, andever, are limited in scope, and at best repre- only tangentially explored other communitysent the seeds of a new type of planning pro- food security strategies such as farmers’cess capable of intervening in the food se- markets, urban agriculture, and community-curity and food access arenas. based transportation programs. The goals of the conference included:Federal Initiatives: USDA and the Commu-nity Food Security Act •Present successful strategies for increasing access to food through the development ofAt the federal level, the Department of Ag- full-line food stores and alternative meansriculture is the government agency that most such as farmers’ markets. Transportationdirectly addresses food system issues, pri- options were also noted as a potential goal;marily in terms of producer/grower relatedissues. The origins of many of the food pro- •Provide a discussion forum for experts ingrams associated with consumer needs, such supermarkets and food-store development,as the food stamp program, were primarily economic development, and food policy;linked to efforts to support farmers throughgovernment acquisition of certain surplus •Identify and support continued efforts tocommodities rather than efforts designed to link improved food access to local economicincrease the food security of program par- development.2ticipants.1 More recently, the Food and Con-sumer Service (with its focus on consumer While participation in the conference wasnutrition issues), the Agricultural Market- below USDA expectations, the conferenceing Service (with its interest in direct mar- was nevertheless significant for a numberketing strategies such as farmers’ markets), of reasons. First, it gave prominence to theand the Office of Analysis and Evaluation issue of food access within the frameworkwithin FCS (which has sponsored research of USDA. While the Office of Analysis andon issues facing low income residents, such Evaluation, the sponsor of the event, hadas food stamp recipients) have all touched contracted for a couple of studies related toon food access issues. However, none of food access, including a food security ques-these offices has established programs, tionnaire to be included in a Census Bureaugrants activities, or policy initiatives specifi- survey, it had not formally addressed the
    • Page 22 Homeward Boundissue through any program or policy.3 The local food, farm and nutrition issues. TheSeptember 1995 conference represented in- passage of the CFSA within the context ofstead a type of surrogate planning effort by massive budget cuts in nutrition and agri-a subagency to frame a complex issue that culture programs proposed by the 104thcuts across subagency and department lines Congress attests to its political appeal. Itand has no actual institutional home for any enjoyed the support of a broad range ofplanning or policy initiative. As such, the stakeholders in the food system, includingconference (and related FCS sponsored stud- family farming, anti-hunger, communityies) provided at best tentative first steps to- gardening, food banking, community devel-ward formalizing inter-agency linkages opment, and environmental organizations.4identified through the conference, with thelonger term objective of developing compre- The CFSA is especially significant for thehensive policy responses to food access de- issue of food access through a number officiencies. contexts. First, improving access to healthy foods is a core component of communityHowever, the conference also reflected the food security and to the legislative mandateinfluence of a growing national movement of the Act. A number of the proposals sub-around community food security and food mitted to the USDA under this Act duringaccess, and legitimized food access as a mat- its first funding cycle included programster of national policy significance. While designed to improve access to food for lowfollow-up activity from the conference by income communities.5 Second, as food ac-USDA (and FCS in particular) remains un- cess remains largely a local issue, with localcertain, the most likely constituency for pro- causes and local solutions, the CFSA pro-grammatic development in the food access vides a basis for funding community-basedarea are food stamp recipients, especially in strategies, such as transportation programs,terms of their purchasing power and need farmers’ markets, and community gardens.to access nutritious foods. Another arena for Finally, the CFSA establishes the validity ofpossible food access activity through USDA multi-sectoral strategies to food access prob-is the Community Food Security Act. This lems. In doing so, it provides a frameworklegislation, the outcome of an eighteen for the USDA to develop a more coordinatedmonth campaign by a wide range of food inter-agency policy approach to this issue.security advocates, may also come to repre-sent a new policy direction for the USDA State Programs: Proposals for Texas andinvolving the funding of policy-related Connecticutgrassroots projects. At the state level, most food-related pro-Recently enacted as part of the 1996 Farm grams are associated with grower-relatedBill, the Community Food Security Act activities, such as technical assistance pro-(CFSA) provides $16 million in competitive grams or agri-chemical use regulations. Thegrants to non-profit organizations over the state’s role in more “urban”-oriented anti-next seven years for food-related projects in hunger or food assistance related programslow income communities. Its stated goals are is primarily administrative in nature or in-to meet the food needs of low-income volves pass-through activities related to fed-people; increase the self reliance of commu- eral food programs.nities in providing for their own food needs;and promote comprehensive responses to One potential route for state-level food ac-
    • Homeward Bound Page 23cess planning or policy activity can be found Authority’s bond funds be used to leveragein the model legislation developed in Texas private financing of supermarkets in innerin 1995. The legislation, introduced as an cities across the state. It also called for theamendment to the Human Resources Code, Department of Transportation to create asought to establish a broad based planning pilot program that would improve food ac-and funding entity called the Texas Food cess through local transportation coordina-Security Council. The bill was passed by the tion. Despite the bill’s failure to be enactedTexas legislature in 1995, but vetoed by Gov- during the 1996 legislative session, the mea-ernor George Bush Jr.. The legislation, sure establishing a Food Security Task Forcedrafted by the Austin, Texas Sustainable was included in other legislation which wasFood Center, provided for the establishment passed and signed into law. According toof a Council composed of representatives of Mark Winne, director of the Hartford Foodstate agencies and nonprofit organizations System and a likely member of the Taskto inventory resources and develop food Force, food access and transportation willsecurity programs, in- continue to figure promi-cluding the development nently in the task force’sof “a coordinated plan to It is noteworthy that future work. 7create opportunities toincrease access to food in municipal and regional Local Initiatives: Foodlow-income communi- planning departments Policy Councilsties.” 6 While transporta- across the U.S. have fewtion/food access plan- if any functions associ- At the local level, much ofning mechanisms and/or the interest in food plan-policy initiatives were not ated with food security ning is of recent origin. Itspecifically identified in or overall food system is noteworthy that mu-the legislation, the Coun- functions. nicipal and regional plan-cil concept intended to ning departments acrossprovide a statewide entry the U.S. have few if anypoint for stimulating food functions associated withaccess activity, whether through a planning food security or overall food system func-process, pilot projects, or grants activities. tions. Most of these are handled by other de- partments, agencies, or through state or fed-Another approach, more elaborate in nature, eral programs, such as food stamp adminis-is the legislative package proposed by the tration. During 1995 and 1996, the absenceAd Hoc Task Force on Food Security of the of municipal food planning functions wasConnecticut General Assembly. This legis- further underlined by food program-relatedlation was passed by the General Assembly changes proposed in the 104th Congress,in 1996, but did not make it to a vote in the based on the devolution to the states andSenate. The legislation called for a number cities of a number of federal anti-hungerof measures, including the formation of a programs. Yet such a transfer of funds andtask force to guide the Connecticut Depart- responsibilities was being promoted at ament of Agriculture in playing a lead role point when the capacity to handle such is-for the development and implementation of sues among local and regional governmentsa food security policy for the state. In terms continued to be minimal or non-existent.of food access and transportation, it pro-posed that Connecticut Development The most visible, contemporary forms of
    • Page 24 Homeward Boundlocal food security planning have involved or administrative home for food securitythe development of Food Policy Councils planning, including food access and trans-(FPCs), or Food Policy Commissions, that portation initiatives. As described in Sectionhave been established in several different III, a number of food access/food transpor-communities and regions (e.g., Hartford, tation programs have been developed byKnoxville, St. Paul, and Toronto), and FPCs in cities like Knoxville, Tennessee andbroadly parallel the type of statewide Coun- Austin, Texas. Such programs have been de-cil established through the Texas legislation signed to meet specific neighborhood con-described above. FPC structures and activi- cerns (e.g., access to a supermarket) ratherties have varied. The two most prevalent than through an overall planning and evalu-models are municipal/government-based ation process. Beyond those programs, theentities and non-profit organizations. FPC efforts to design an FPC in Los Angeles, de-roles also vary, whether in terms of policy scribed in Section IV, identifies one possibledevelopment or program implemen- model for food security and foodtation, or whether they serve as access planning.catalyst or facilitator. All,however, have sought to T R A N S P O RTAT I O Nconstruct a comprehen- SERVICES AND PRO-sive approach to agricul- Despite their system-wide GRAMSture and food related focus, however, Foodproblems. 8 Policy Councils and com- Federal Programs munity food planning ef-Food Policy Councils forts have tended to remain Within the world ofhave generally sought transportation plan- marginalized effortsto focus on the multiple ning, the focus on foodpathways of the food sys- access has been, at best,tem, including both urban a stepchild to the largerfood security concerns such emphasis on commutingas hunger, nutrition, access, and vehicle mobility. Wherecommunity development, and ur- available, links between federalban agriculture opportunities, as well as transportation policies and local programsgrower-related considerations such as direct and food access for inner city transit depen-marketing. Despite their system-wide focus, dent residents are primarily found in an adhowever, Food Policy Councils and commu- hoc assortment of services which attempt tonity food planning efforts have tended to re- meet the intra-neighborhood needs of com-main marginalized efforts at advocacy and munities. These paratransit services tend tointervention, primarily due to a lack of funds comprise the workhorses of such transit sys-and institutional support. Even organiza- tems. Such programs, which most often in-tions established within municipal govern- clude the use of vans, taxis, carpools, andments have suffered from limited resources, jitneys, are well suited to enhancing mobil-due to tight government budgets, jurisdic- ity for food shoppers, given their ability totional issues, and the problem of institu- respond flexibly to variations in travel de-tional autonomy.9 mand as well as route, and their generally low capital and operating costs with respectFPCs, nevertheless, represent a potential re- to conventional transit.10gion-wide or municipal organizational and/
    • Homeward Bound Page 25While no federal transportation policies deal tation Enhancement Act of 1991, a complexexplicitly with the issue of food access or of piece of legislation that seeks to take intothe servicing of intra-neighborhood needs, account land use considerations and theirthe 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation relationship to different transportationEnhancement Act (ISTEA) and the 1990 modes. The legislation authorizes the ex-Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do penditure of $155 billion over six years for acreate certain opportunities for addressing wide range of programs ranging from high-these issues. The ADA, which includes a set way construction and environmental im-of detailed regulations for both private and provements such as stormwater mitigationpublic entities, specifies, among other pro- to “transportation demand management”,visions, that transportation vehicles and fa- the area in which support for paratransitcilities be made accessible for those who use programs can be located. Within that con-wheelchairs. Creating this legislative focus text of program support, mobility (e.g., re-on access, moreover, has also brought atten- duced congestion) remains ISTEA’s primarytion to the disabled as a transit dependent measurement of success. Transportationpopulation, including this population’s sig- control measures for reducing traffic conges-nificant concerns about food access. Those tion and achieving air quality standards areprograms and services that were ultimately also prominent.11developed as a direct or indirect result ofADA, however, have remained tailored to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (suchthis specific constituency. as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in Los Angeles) are given great flexibility inISTEA setting funding priorities, within broad cat- egories. For example, in Los Angeles, whileWithout a direct constituency focus as with the MTA has employed ISTEA funds for railthe ADA, ISTEA nevertheless provides pos- projects, it has also made funding availablesible funding for a wide range of urban for the transportation demand managementtransportation programs, a few of which also (TDM) programs that are the primary routehave the potential to address food shopping for food access initiatives. TDM guidelines,needs. The proposed ISTEA legislation in a 1995-96 MTA application package, al-evolved as the National Interstate and De- low for such projects as “innovative shuttlefense Highway Program was winding down services... that serve a variety of needs andin the late 1980s, and the principal transpor- that have new or innovative features. Suchtation policy thrust among legislators and projects may serve multi-modal transporta-transportation planners focused on urban tion centers, community based needs, andcongestion issues. A strategic planning pro- community based purposes”.12 However,cess, including 65 public forums across the despite its potential applicability, ISTEAcountry, was initiated through the Transpor- funding for food access planning or pro-tation 2020 Task Force. The Task Force’s fi- grams has yet to be pursued, a function innal recommendations included more fund- part of the lack of interaction and functionaling for surface transportation and increased separation between food or human serviceattention to land use and environmental con- and transportation policy.siderations that were also embedded in the1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. That plan-ning and political process contributed to thedrafting of the Intermodal Surface Transpor-
    • Page 26 Homeward BoundLocal Programs: Los Angeles and Cam- as well as planning their routes, developedbridge in consultation with community leaders. In- terestingly, the DASH shuttles are fundedIn Los Angeles, most of the paratransit ini- with sales tax receipts rather than federaltiatives established through the City of Los monies, because of DOT concern that thereAngeles Transportation Department, under are “too many strings attached” associatedthe heading of the city’s Community Tran- with union approval of expenditures.sit Program, are targeted toward elderly and Okazaki also noted that the DASH shuttlesdisabled clients, and establish no direct food represent a cost efficient means of transpor-access/transit dependency relationship. tation, receiving a one dollar subsidy per(See Chart 1.) The City’s Dial-a-ride pro- passenger, as compared to over $30 for railgram, for example, provides shared rides to passengers, and a comparable amount forthe elderly and disabled in lift-equipped the city’s dial-a-ride curb to curb service forvans. Fares are subsidized, typically cost- the elderly.ing 2 scrip vouchers (60 vouchers may bepurchased quarterly for $12, or $7 for low Recently surveyed Midtown and Crenshawincome individuals). Recent data suggests DASH riders cited price and convenience asmoderate usage for an undifferentiated their primary reasons for riding DASH. Rid-“shopping” category and for “nutrition” ers referred to bus stop distances from homepurposes. For December, 1995, the “shop- and/or travel destination as well as timeping” category comprises from 0-10% of factors (upwards of 45 minutes or more fortotal rides in the different geographical ar- short distance trips) on a RTD bus. Theeas of the City. Interestingly, trips for “nu- DASH service travel time within each com-trition,” presumably to congregate meals for munity, on the other hand, was estimated atthe elderly, comprise up to 41% of total rides less than 20 minutes, while the cost for theduring the same period (which is also the service was a dollar less than RTD. Tripshighest in the low income South Central were scattered among a variety of purposes,area).13 Shopping is apparently limited by the most common being work or school.space constraints; the service restricts pa- Grocery shopping was cited by 8% and 7%trons to three grocery bags per trip, and does respectively, of the riders.15not allow shopping carts on the vehicle.14 The development of the “smart shuttle” alsoFor the general public, however, the City represents another possible direction towarddoes operate DASH shuttles in 16 targeted facilitating food access in Los Angeles. Acommunities. These circulator routes cost 25 generic term for a wide range of servicescents, operate in clockwise and counter- with flexible routes driven by customer de-clockwise directions, and are designed to mand, and advanced technologies such asfacilitate non-commuter needs, such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and com-medical appointments, shopping trips, etc. puter dispatching, the smart shuttle oper-According to Chief of Transit James Okazaki, ates akin to a taxi, and will be operated pri-the DASH program was established to ad- vately. The City of Los Angeles Transporta-dress concerns about conventional transit’s tion Department has put out requests forhigh price and inconvenience for local in- proposals on the operation of a two yeartra-neighborhood trips. Community resi- demonstration project in the high density,dents from different areas of the city played low income immigrant neighborhood ofa crucial role in advocating for these shuttles Westlake. According to MTA planner Scott
    • Homeward Bound Page 27Green, this service will cost 75 cents, (25 eas within the city’s boundaries withoutcents for a transfer), and take riders to any proximity to a full service market. In 1991,location of their choice within a defined ser- an advisory “Food Policy Referendum” wasvice area, with an approximate 1.5 mile ra- held in the Cambridge Township that calleddius. The shuttle will be able to operate on for the city to establish food access as anarrow streets that conventional transit is citywide priority. While the referendum didnot capable of entering, increasing accessi- not specifically direct any policy or agencybility for individuals who have limited mo- activity, with 80% of the voters voting inbility. The project will be heavily subsidized support of a food access approach, electedwith local funding in its first two years, and officials and municipal agencies quickly el-then will have to operate as an entrepreneur- evated food access, and specifically newial activity, free of subsidies. Future MTA supermarket development, to the top of theplans incorporate the construction of a new public agenda.supermarket adjacent to the recently con-structed Red Line subway station, which the In December 1994, the Community Devel-smart shuttle could help service.16 opment Department issued a Report to the Cambridge City Council that focused onInterestingly, Tom Connor, the deputy gen- how the city itself could become part of aeral manager of the city of Los Angeles’ process of ensuring “adequate access” forTransportation Department was not famil- all Cambridge residents to full-service mar-iar with any food transportation program kets”, as well as identifying alternativeinvolving the use of paratransit services such methods of providing access to food.18 Theas vans, by either the city or by food stores.17 Report defined supermarket access in termsHowever, MTA planner Scott Green did of “walking radius” (identified as one halfmention that after the 1992 civil disturbances mile or less) rather than “driving radius”RTD established special routes to help resi- (defined as two miles or less). Cambridge,dents of impacted areas get to supermarkets. like a number of other eastern seaboard cit-Entitled Operation Foodbasket, this project, ies, had a significant percentage of house-no longer in existence, is noteworthy in that holds without vehicle ownership, thoughit was defined within the context of emer- transit dependency concerns were mediatedgency/natural disaster planning. By subse- in part by the fact that Cambridge is a pe-quently eliminating the program, it further destrian-oriented city with an extensive pub-indicated the lack of any food access frame- lic transportation system. Given the highwork in the ongoing transportation plan- percentage of walk-in shoppers, the issue ofning and implementation process. Food ac- supermarket proximity was particularly sig-cess became a concern as a result of a large- nificant.scale social upheaval, not as a day-to-dayproblem. The CDD Report both provided information to inform an access approach while callingIn Cambridge, Massachusetts, food access for a series of public initiated activities de-issues have been directly linked to commu- signed to address the access problem. Thesenity concerns about the lack of nearby su- included: a site analysis of possible super-permarkets in specific Cambridge neighbor- market locations as defined by food accesshoods. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, considerations; regulatory interventions,two Cambridge area supermarkets closed such as permitting waivers or zoning ap-down, leaving significant neighborhood ar- proaches to facilitate the siting of supermar-
    • Page 28 Homeward Boundkets; and the development of special grocery market’s customer base; access-sponsoredstore regulations, transfer of development programs, in turn can enhance a market’srights, and exemptions regarding store size community good will, a crucial concern forin areas where there were retail limits.19 a customer based industry. Access-related problems may also be reflected in other ad-The Cambridge situation is also of interest ditional costs, notably the loss of shoppinginsofar as a community-based political ac- carts and the threat of impoundment chargestion (the advisory referendum) in response from municipalities. The ability to addressto a food access concern (supermarket de- access concerns for supermarkets (and theparture) resulted in a set of municipal ac- food retail sector as a whole), then, repre-tions, which included a broad-based analy- sents both a business opportunity and asis and review, a set of recommended ac- competitive advantage.tions, and the beginnings of a public pro-cess to support for food access initiatives. Yet, similar to the absence of food access re- lated planning among transportation andToday, transportation planning’s nexus to other public agencies, the food retail indus-food access is often limited to a discussion try has not developed a consistent or sys-of bus stop location and routing in terms of tematic program to meet customer transpor-shopping centers, rather than a more com- tation needs. “There is no organized discus-munity-based approach to helping connect sion within the food retail industry aboutthe transit dependent with food retailers. But transportation approaches”, according to aas the Cambridge situation reveals and staff member of the California Grocer’s As-ISTEA legislation suggests, an integration of sociation, an absence that is also reflected intransportation and food access planning re- trade publications and program initiatives.20mains a viable option at both the legislative For example, the Food Marketing Institute’sand agency level. “Urban Initiatives Task Force” established in the wake of the Los Angeles civil disor- ders of May 1992, was specifically chargedFOOD RETAIL SECTOR APPROACHES with “recommending ways for the super- market industry to broaden and strengthenIndustry Attitudes its participation in neglected communities while serving the FMI membership”. 21The food retail industry has played a sig- These recommendations included programnificant role in both contributing to and be- initiatives in such areas as education, jobing impacted by access related issues. This training, mentoring, and store development,study has elaborated how supermarket lo- but not specifically access or transportationcation decisions have exacerbated transpor- needs. Other FMI publications listing super-tation concerns of residents in areas with market initiatives in “underserved commu-lower than average vehicle ownership who nities” have failed to include any transpor-need to travel longer distances to use full tation or access-related programs.22 Simi-service food markets. At the same time, the larly, an awards program of FMI and thesupermarket industry in particular has come National League of Cities that highlightedto recognize that “inner city” locations to- seventeen different successful collaborativeday represent a relatively undeveloped mar- programs between communities and super-ket for a highly competitive industry. Im- markets, listed only one transportation-re-proved access could potentially expand a lated program, a shuttle service sponsored
    • Homeward Bound Page 29by the Kroger Co. in the city of Savannah, The divorce of “access needs” from “com-Georgia. Even when food retail chains have munity function” is noteworthy for an in-established transportation programs, they dustry that is so heavily place-based andhave been employee rather than customer- customer-oriented in its economic or mar-based. In Southern California, for example, ket share considerations. Where a store isthe Vons company, influenced in part by lo- located is considered to have direct bearingcal air quality regulations, purchased two on how to attract customers to a store, andvans through CalTrans grant funds to pro- vice versa. At the same time, availability ofvide a rideshare/van service program for land (influenced significantly by parkingemployees. Although the vans were not in requirements which in turn elevates caruse during non-commute down times, Vons transport as the primary if not exclusivedecided against any customer shuttle pro- transport factor to be considered) representsgram because of possible additional insur- a major barrier to supermarket developmentance costs.23 in inner city areas, according to the FMI Ur- ban Initiatives TaskDiscussions with — and Force.25 At the same time,presentations by — food The divorce of “access the customer focus tendsretail industry executives needs” from “commu- to be linked to productreveal a similar lack of nity function” is note- availability and differen-organized response to tiation, often tailored totransportation and access worthy for an industry customer demographics.questions. Former Lucky that is so heavily place- Inner city stores, despiteStores executive vice based and customer-ori- lower than average ve-president John Benner, in ented in its economic or hicle ownership and aa presentation at the 1995 pattern of increased walk-California Grocer’s Asso- market share consider- in traffic, have tended tociation annual meeting, ations. be focused more on crimedetailed a range of food (e.g., by making parkingsecurity and anti-hunger lots safer) than access.initiatives that could be undertaken by su- Walk-in customers, in turn, have become thepermarkets in recognition of the “commu- prime constituency for the use of shoppingnity” role of the industry. Such initiatives carts, given the absence of any defined trans-included product donations to food pantries portation approach at the inner city store.and food banks (e.g., damaged cans, unsold Ultimately, the use and disposal of shoppingproduce), financial contributions to anti- carts becomes, as one food retail executivehunger organizations through shopper re- put it, a substitution for a store-based trans-ceipts and other charitable donations, and portation program. 26educational materials made available atstore sites. Access and transportation initia- Shopping Cart Loss As A Food Accesstives, however, were not included.24 In that Proxycontext, a “community” role is defined asthe broad social responsibilities of the busi- For the food retail industry, shopping cartness rather than reorienting or restructuring loss has emerged as a major financial bur-the activities of the business to address com- den and highly sensitive policy question.munity needs. Cart loss in turn has been directly linked to transportation and access issues; i.e., cart
    • Page 30 Homeward Boundlosses tend to be greatest at stores located in dependent contractor for a Los Angeles-communities with lower than average based Shopping Cart Service esti-vehicle ownership. The financial mated that he alone retrievedimpact of cart losses is clearly about 200 to 250 carts a day,a significant expense for and that as many as onefood retailers. The replace- Cart loss and re- fourth of some store’s cartsment cost of a single cart trieval costs could might be taken off siteruns between $60 and during a shopping day.$120, depending on cart amount to upwards The City of Inglewood,size. More than a dozen of $67,000 a year in with a population ofcities in California also some inner city 114,000 as well as 19 smallhave shopping cart im- stores. to medium size indepen-poundment laws that con- dent food stores and gen-tribute to the costs and poten- eral merchandise stores, es-tial liabilities for supermarkets. timated that as many as 400-500Where impoundment laws exist, a shopping carts are removed fromfood store can be charged for each cart re- Inglewood stores and abandoned on citytrieval, with charges in California ranging streets each day, with figures increasingfrom as low as $4 to as high as $25 a cart. during periods of holiday shopping. As an- other example, A-State Kart Kleen, a Mesa,Many supermarkets contract with private Arizona-based cart retrieval company, withcart recovery or retrieval services to locate a staff of nine “retrievers”, picks up an av-missing carts, and, in some cases, have es- erage of 900 carts a day in the Phoenix area.tablished their own Shopping Cart Retrieval A-State Kart Kleen’s largest customer, a foodService which in turn pays independent con- chain with 16 stores, many of which oper-tractors to retrieve carts. Payments for re- ate in low income, transit-dependent com-trieved carts also vary, both in terms of the munities, alone loses 700 carts a day. Anothercost per load and the cost per cart (depend- Southern California food store executive es-ing on the size of the load), although cumu- timated that the Food-for-Less chain (nowlative payments can be substantial in areas merged with Ralphs) made upwards of fif-where the number of carts taken off the store teen cart retrieval trips per day, and that cartpremises might run as high as 10% or more loss and retrieval costs could amount to up-of the carts in use. 27 In 1992, FMI estimated wards of $67,000 a year in some inner citythat the grocery industry lost 1.85 million stores. 29carts, including a loss of 190,000 carts in cardependent southern California. The Califor- There is widespread recognition both insidenia Grocer’s Association has estimated that and outside the food retail industry that cart750,000 carts are taken from stores in Cali- loss is a direct outcome of lack of transpor-fornia, with losses about $17 million a year, tation. “Carts go AWOL because they areand $9 million a year in Southern California used as wheels for folks who don’t havealone. The cart retrieval business, though cars”, according to a Forbes article on the is-often operating as a kind of fly-by-night sue, a sentiment widely shared by cart re-operation, has nevertheless, according to trievers who are constantly seeking to iden-Forbes magazine, come to represent a $12 tify neighborhoods where the highest num-million market, partly a reflection of the high ber of abandoned carts may be located. Ac-volume and expense of cart loss.28 One in- cording to a Public Voice report on urban
    • Homeward Bound Page 31supermarkets, the Cleveland-based Finast pendent customer base, while avoiding theSupermarket chain reported that it loses an cost of instituting its own transit service.31average of 300 shopping carts annually inurban locations, compared to 20 in its sub- The issue that has generated the most con-urban locations. Another transit dependent cern among food retailers is the recent in-constituency, senior citizens, are also seen terest of municipalities in impoundmentas potentially responsible for cart loss prob- laws, particularly in cities with high num-lems. In the Phoenix area, with its large num- bers of abandoned shopping carts. Althoughber of retirement communities, for example, a few cities have targeted the taking of cartsthere is a high volume of shopping cart as their focus of action — e.g., the city oflosses in middle class areas with majority Lawndale in southern California stipulatedretiree/senior populations. 30 in a municipal ordinance that abandoned shopping carts created a “visual blight” andHowever, despite the significant concerns contributed to “a reduction in the value ofregarding cart loss and its assumed links to properties within the community”, and thattransit dependencies, no transportation- it would thus be illegal to remove them frombased intervention within the food retail store premises32 — most of the ordinancessector has emerged as a preventative strat- have targeted food stores themselves. Foregy to reduce or eliminate the problem. Most example, the city of Inglewood establishedstores create or contract with retrieval ser- an “Abandoned Shopping Cart Ordinance”vice companies to minimize their losses, al- in 1995 that sought to remove abandonedthough retrieval costs have also come to rep- carts by forcing retail stores to pay a $15resent a significant, stand-alone expense. administrative fee for each cart that the CityOther factors, such as organized theft opera- had retrieved. After carts have been locatedtions, are also identified as major contribu- and stored at a city facility, a notice is senttions to the problem. However, organized to the retailer, and the retailer has thirty daystheft rings often represent “after-the-fact” to pick up and pay for the cart. After the 30manifestations of the issue; that is, the cart day period has passed, the city then sells thetheft operations are the mirror opposites of unclaimed carts to a private retrieval servicecart retrieval services by searching for carts at a reduced cost (between $5 and $25 de-that have been abandoned by those who pending on the size and type of cart).have already used them. Where programs Though Inglewood evaluated its first yearhave been initiated, shopping cart loss has of operation as a money loser (more thanoften been institutionalized as the store- 1600 carts had been retrieved in that time,based transportation policy. For example, but the fees and sales of carts did not fullyKV Mart, a 13 unit chain headquartered in offset the costs of the program, which in-Carson, in southern California, has estab- cluded primarily staff time in the collectionlished a program that allows customers to and administering the program, as well astake their groceries home in carts and then storage costs, according to Inglewood staff),contracts with a private retrieval company its primary motivation for the ordinance wasto locate the carts that are not brought back to eliminate the “blight and nuisance” fac-to the store. Since KV Mart estimates that tors associated with abandoned carts. Theas many as 35% of its customers walk to the retail industry, however, continued to re-store, the cost of loss and retrieval payments main strongly opposed to the municipal— upwards of $300,000 annually — is ab- impoundment approach, and in 1996, thesorbed in order to maintain its transit-de- Vons company filed a law suit against the
    • Page 32 Homeward Boundcity of Inglewood challenging the city’s right side the framework of a transportation/foodto impound carts.33 access approach. Whether seen as a prob- lem of “blight” or homelessness, as manyBy 1995, seventeen cities in California had municipalities have defined it, or, for foodenacted abandoned shopping cart ordi- retailers, an unwelcome though widely an-nances similar to Inglewood and upwards ticipated cost of business in transit depen-of thirty more cities had begun making in- dent communities, shopping cart loss hasquiries about enacting similar laws. In re- emerged as the one single, consistent sub-sponse, the California Grocer’s Association stitute for transportation/food access plan-pushed legislation that would restrict cities ning. This problem of policy (or lackfrom enacting such ordinances, partly by thereof), promises to become more pro-limiting the impoundment/retrieval fee to tracted, given current and anticipated food$5 per cart and exempting any store that had insecurity and transit dependency indica-itself retained a cart retrieval service, includ- tors.ing their own in-house as well as contractedservice. The CGA-endorsed legislation,which was also supported by many of thelargest food chains in the state, was opposedby the California League of Cities and 26different California municipalities. Thoughthe bill passed both houses of the Legisla-ture, it was vetoed by Governor Wilson.34The Inglewood example is noteworthy, sinceboth city officials and food retailers engagedin extensive discussions prior to the enact-ment of the ordinance concerning possiblesolutions to the problem of shopping cartsleaving store premises. Both store ownersand city officials recognized that a primaryreason for the problem was inadequatetransportation to the stores and the largenumber of walk-in customers. Most of thediscussion, however, centered on the cartretrieval process; namely, how could storesmore effectively get the carts off the streets.One transportation-based program was ini-tiated: a subsidized taxi service for foodshoppers. This program, however, neversucceeded, given the difficulty of “bunch-ing” up customers and creating a higher ra-tio of shoppers to rides.35The shopping cart loss problem, despite itsobvious relation to food access and transitdependency, remains a concern defined out-
    • Homeward Bound Page 33 ENDNOTES: SECTION II1. Farm Policies of the United States, 1790- cils: The Experience of Five Cities and One1950: A Study of Their Origins and Devel- County,” Paper presented at the Joint Meet-opment, Murray R. Benedict, New York: ing of the Agriculture, Food, and HumanTwentieth Century Fund, 1953. Values Society and the Society for the Study of Food and Society, Tucson, Arizona, June2. United States Department of Agriculture, 11, 1994; See also “History of the Implemen-Food and Consumer Services. Conference on tation of the Toronto Food Policy Council”,Access to Food. Conference Program, Sep- Prepared for the Toronto Food Policy Coun-tember 18-19, 1995, p. 1 cil Board, March 6, 1991; Annual Report, City of Hartford, Connecticut, Advisory Com-3. Contracted studies are cited in Public mission on Food Policy, September 1, 1993.Voice for Food and Health policy, Inner CitySupermarket Task Force Meeting Summary, 9. Interview with Robert Wilson, ProjectWashington D.C.: Public Voice, May 1995, Team Member of the Local Food Systempp. 1-2 Project, Co-Founder Knoxville Food Policy Council, March 1996.4. “We Did It! CFS Act Passes”, CommunityFood Security News, Winter/Spring 1996, p. 10. Ronald Kirby et al Paratransit: Neglected1; See also Fisher, Andrew & Robert Gottlieb, Options for Urban Mobility. Urban InstituteCommunity Food Security: Policies for a Washington DC, n.d.; Cervero, Robert, Com-More Sustainable Food System in the Con- mercial Paratransit in the United States: Ser-text of the 1995 Farm Bill and Beyond, The vice Options, Markets, and Performance,Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, University of California Transportation Cen-Working Paper No. 11, University of Cali- ter, Working Paper UCTC No. 299, Berke-fornia, Los Angeles, May 1995 ley: UCTC, January 1996.5. More than 150 proposals were forwarded 11. Kristine Williams, “ISTEA: New Direc-to the Community Food Security Coalition, tions for Transportation Land Use Law”,the leading advocate of the Community Land Use Law, July 1993, pp. 3-9; Marya Mor-Food Security Act. These proposals were ris, “New Transportation Law Benefits Plan-developed in less than two months after the ning”, PAS Memo, American Planning As-Act was passed and in advance of the ac- sociation, February 1992.tual publication of the RFP for the Act’sgrants program. Memo from Andy Fisher to 12. Metropolitan Transit Authority. Applica-Community Food Security Coalition Steer- tion Package: Fiscal Year 1995-1996 throughing Committee, June 20, 1996. 1998-99 Transportation Improvement Pro- gram. Call for projects.6. Texas CSHB 2856, 1995, p. 3. 13. Cityride Dial-a-ride Monthly Statistical7. Presentation by Mark Winne, Executive Report, Los Angeles Department of Trans-Director, Hartford Food System, Rutgers portation, December 1995; For backgroundUniversity, February 7, 1996. on the origins of Dial-a-ride at the national level, see John R. Meyer and Jose A. Gomez-8. Dahlberg, Kenneth, “Food Policy Coun- Ibanez, Autos, Transit and Cities, Cam-
    • Page 34 Homeward Boundbridge: Harvard University Press, 1981, pp. Grocer’s Association Annual Meeting, San73-77. Diego, September 30, 1995.14. City Ride Users Guide, Los Angeles De- 25. Urban Initiatives Task Force Recommen-partment of Transportation, p.21 dations, p. 215. Draft DASH Midtown and DASH 26. See Interview with Patrick Barber, Food-Crenshaw On-Board Survey Results, Los For-Less (Merged with Ralphs), cited inAngeles Department of Transportation, n/ Seeds of Change, p.133d 27. In the city of Lawndale in southern Cali-16. Interview with Scott Green, May, 1996 fornia, for example, a cart retrieval service used by the three main supermarkets in that17. Interview with Tom Connor by Linda community (Boys, Alpha Beta, and ValueO’Connor, January, 1995. Plus) charges $12.50 per load, with a load varying from a minimum of 12 carts to 2518. Supermarket Access in Cambridge, A carts. Costs of retrieval per cart, through thisReport to the Cambridge City Council, Com- service, would then vary from 50 cents tomunity Development Department, Cam- more than $1 per cart. Letter from Williambridge, MA: CDD, December 19, 1994. Woolard, Community Development Direc- tor, City of Lawndale, to the City Council,19. Supermarket Access in Cambridge, pp. August 28, 1995.8-12. 28. Interview with Beth Beeman; “Cart20. Interview with Beth Beeman, California Wars”, Damon Darlin, Forbes, October 11,Grocer’s Association, March 1996. 1993, v. 152, n.8: 137-139; “Carting Away Profits”, Jennifer Pellet, Discount21. “Urban Initiatives Task Force Recom- Merchandizer, January 1994, v. 34, n.1:68mendations”, Adopted by the Food Market-ing Institute Board of Directors, May 8, 1993, 29. Interview with Donald Anthony, Presi-Food Marketing Institute, Washington D.C. dent, A-State Kart Kleen Inc., 4/11/96; “Abandoned Shopping Cart Ordinance”,22. See FMI packet of publications under the Memorandum to the Mayor and City Coun-heading “Supermarket Initiatives in cil, December 20, 1994, City of Inglewood;Underserved Communities”, Food Market- Interview with Hilda J. Kennedy, Adminis-ing Institute, Washington D.C., 1996. trative Analyst, City of Inglewood, April 5, 1996; see also, “Cart Catastrophe”, Progres-23. Cities and Supermarkets: Case Studies sive Grocer, February 1994, p. 10; “Supermar-of Successful Collaborative Programs, The ket Puts Brake on Wayward Carts”, Sarah1995 NLC-FMI Neighborhood Partnership Klein, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1996;Awards, National League of Cities and the “Mike Cornejo: Corralling Stray ShoppingFood Marketing Institute, Washington D.C., Carts all over Westside”, Andrew Bridges,1995; Interview with Jan Dell, Vons Los Angeles Times, November 5, 1995; SeedsRideshare Department, April 1995 of Change, p. 133.24. Presentation by John Benner, California 30. No Place to Shop: Challenges and Op-
    • Homeward Bound Page 35portunities Facing the Development of Su-permarkets in Urban America, WashingtonD.C.: Public Voice for Food and HealthPolicy, February 1996, p. 55; Interview withDonald Anthony, 4/11/96. Anthony com-mented on the cart loss/transit dependencyrelationship this way: “Major cart loss, ac-cording to my experience, is where peopledon’t have cars.”31. No Place to Shop, Ibid. p. 5632. Ordinance No. 787-95, City of Lawndale,Adopted September 11, 1995.33. Interview with Hilda Kennedy, May1996; Ordinance No. 94-11, “An Ordinanceof the City of Inglewood, California Amend-ing the Inglewood Municipal Code Relatingto Shopping Carts, December 20, 1994;Memorandum from Darryl B. Brown to KenDuke, Public Services Director, City ofInglewood, “Shopping Cart Retrieval Pro-gram”, March 3, 1995.34. See Assembly Bill 182, Introduced byAssembly Member Granlund. “An Act toadd Section 22435.7 to the Business and Pro-fessions Code, relating to shopping carts”.Introduced January 24, 1995; Letter fromEdward Vincent, Mayor, City of Inglewood,to Governor Pete Wilson, August 1, 1995;Letter from Larry Guidi, Mayor, City ofHawthorne, to Governor Pete Wilson, July25, 1995; Interview with Hilda Kennedy, Cityof Inglewood, March 25, 1996.35. Interview with Beth Beeman, CaliforniaGrocers Association, March 24, 1996
    • Page 36 Homeward Bound SECTION III: EXPLORATORY PROGRAMS: CASE STUDIES OF FOOD ACCESS INITIATIVES
    • Homeward Bound Page 37D espite the absence of any compre can-American. Income levels and vehicle hensive food access-related trans ownership are significantly lower than portation programs initiated by countywide averages. Although the area isgovernment agencies or through the food densely populated and there are some busretail industry, a small number of explor- routes that cross near the store’s location, theatory programs have been developed at the neighborhood is also considered a highstore or local government level. These pro- crime area and there is substantial commu-grams have been established in response to nity concern about the safety of bus stopsspecific concerns, primarily those that have after dark. Dial-a-Ride services are also mini-been constituent or customer-driven. This mal in the area.Section describes a number of these pro-grams as individual case studies grouped Soon after the family-owned El Tapatiotogether in relation to the type of transpor- opened its store in 1993, its manager decidedtation service offered or the constituencies to initiate a Customer Shuttle Service pro-served. What primarily characterizes these gram. The van service idea was a familiarprograms is their ad hoc nature as well as one to store management, since it had beentheir lack of relationship to broader policy previously utilized at the Numero Uno mar-or industry-wide efforts. As programs often ket, another medium sized independentassociated with the ability to establish “good market in South Central Los Angeles whichwill” in a customer service industry, they had been owned and operated by anotherhave not been evaluated for certain key member of the family. 1transportation or food access-related crite-ria, such as increased store sales, declining From its inception, the El Tapatio shuttlecart losses, or even, for some, the overall cost program established itself as a high profile,of service itself. They are presented here as customer-oriented service providing thesignposts of both the opportunity and need store with a strong community/ethnic-re-for such programs, despite the difficulty of lated reputation and loyal clientele. Thebeing able to analyze criteria (e.g., costs and shuttles offer a “store-to-home” service inbenefits or customer feedback) that could be order to address the needs of such transit-used to evaluate program objectives and dependent customers as senior citizens andimplementation. families with small children. There is no charge to the customer for use of the shuttle. There is, however, a $25 minimum purchaseSTORE INITIATED VAN SERVICES requirement which is loosely monitored by(From the Store to the Home) store personnel (e.g., by checking the num- ber of bags per passenger). The shuttle op-El Tapatio Supermercado/Los Angeles erates 7 days a week from 7:00 AM to 9:30 PM.Located in a former tortilla factory in SouthCentral Los Angeles, El Tapatio, an indepen- The immediate success of the programdent full service market with 18,000 square caused the store to expand its fleet of 3 vansfeet and outdoor merchandise displays, runs to 5 shuttle buses with 6 drivers who workone of the more popular shuttle services staggered hours. Each shuttle bus holds be-within the food retail industry. The imme- tween 12 to 14 people. There is no set route;diate area served by the store (within a instead, passengers announce their destina-square mile) is 80% Hispanic and 10% Afri- tions when the van is full. The service seeks
    • Page 38 Homeward Boundto maintain a 3-4 mile radius to the route, efit of the program, according to Torres, hasalthough the program’s popularity has at- been its “goodwill” dimension. A large signtracted customers from far greater distances. on the front of the store says, “SHOP HEREFirst time requests to use the service are hon- AND WE WILL TAKE YOU HOME”, a mes-ored; however, customers are alerted to the sage that directly expresses the communitypreferred boundaries for drop off locations. service/access link that El Tapatio manage-The service is most heavily used during ment wishes to convey.2evening hours and van departures duringthese peak periods tend to be a half hour or Fine’s Community Van Service/East Losless. AngelesThe El Tapatio Customer Shuttle Service rep- Fine’s Market in the East Los Angeles neigh-resents a classic trade off between opera- borhood of Boyle Heights is a 15,000 squaretional costs and multiple customer-related foot full service independent food market.benefits, many of which are not quantified. A family-owned business for fifty years withEl Tapatio’s manager, Ed Torres, estimates a nearly exclusive Latino customer base,that the service costs about $4,000 per Fine’s offers a number of additional pro-month. This includes labor costs (primarily grams beyond its grocery store business,the drivers) which amount to $2,200/month, including a Friday/Saturday swap meet inas well as vehicle purchase/replacement, its parking lot. In 1990, the store initiated amaintenance and insurance. There are also “store-to-home” van service in response tosignificant permitting and licensing require- the store’s largely elderly clients who werements for the operation, including the need concerned about both crime and access is-for a Class B (bus driver) license for the van sues. Though Fine’s sold bus tokens at thedrivers. Competing transportation services store, given the large numbers of customerssuch as taxi companies have also sought to who took public transportation, the devel-undermine the program by filing complaints opment of the van program was seen as as-regarding permit or license infractions. sisting those who might not otherwise shop (or reduce their amount of purchase) atDespite the costs and operational burdens, Fine’s, including seniors without cars andthe Customer Shuttle Service has become the families with children.primary marketing tool for El Tapatio in at-tracting customers and developing strong Currently the program operates a single,community support. Advertising the service brightly painted van which holds ten pas-in itself represents a powerful publicity ad- sengers and runs daily on a nearly continu-vantage. The use of the service also helps ous basis from 9:00 Am to 6:00 PM.. Onreduce parking lot overflow, a key issue for weekends, the van runs every ten minutesa store requiring a continuing customer flow. and averages more than fifty trips a day.Reducing shopping cart loss is another Shoppers are required to purchase at leastshuttle service objective. Although there has $30 worth of groceries in order to obtain theirbeen no direct comparative analysis regard- ride, though the driver doesn’t check re-ing cart loss, store manager Torres argues ceipts. There is no charge for the ride.that there has been a relationship betweenthe success of the shuttle program and the Van routes are not predetermined. Thedeclining number of carts taken off the pre- driver asks for passenger destinations beforemises. Ultimately, the most significant ben- leaving the parking lot and brings custom-
    • Homeward Bound Page 39ers directly to their doorstep and assists ognition of that role creates an intangiblethem with their bags if they need help. Most value for a business seeking a communityroutes fall within a one mile radius of the identity. 3store. On occasion, customers, on request,are picked up to come to the store. To makethat arrangement, a customer first calls the STORE INITIATED VAN SERVICESstore to order the pick-up service. The store (Pick Up and Drop Off)then beeps the van driver. Once the van’sroute has been set, the van driver phones Fiesta Market/Houston, Texasthe customer and arranges a pick up on thevan’s return to the store. Fiesta Market is a major Texas grocery chain with 33 stores; 30 in Houston, Texas, 2 inSimilar to the El Tapatio program, the Fine’s Dallas, and 1 in Austin. A number of the Fi-van service is costly, estimated to run as high esta stores are located in low income oras $4,000/month. Although Fine’s has no bridge communities, and several of thesespecial permits from the city to run the ser- serve immigrant populations (mostly,vice, it is obliged to insure the van through though not exclusively, Latino). Part ofan automobile insurance company, which Fiesta’s marketing approach for these storeshas become a major expense of the program. has been to recreate an environment famil-There is no special driver for the vehicle; iar to immigrant shoppers by “importing theinstead the store’s regular employees are confusion and profusion of food of a Thirdutilized. The popularity of the program has World Market,” according to one Fiesta storegrown steadily and Fine’s is considering manager.4 This strategy includes offeringexpanding to a second van. additional services, ranging from cashing payroll and government checks onsite, pro-Despite the costs, the Fine’s managers see viding free vaccinations, an ear piercing ser-the program as creating significant benefits. vice, and the sale of money orders and busAlthough it has not emerged as the type of tokens. Among its other operations, Fiestasignature program that El Tapatio offers, the also owns an airport shuttle service. Cur-Fine’s Customer Van Service has established rently, at two of its stores, Fiesta provides aimportant benefits, including increased mer- van shuttle service that picks up and subse-chandise sales (although only estimated, not quently returns Fiesta shoppers to theirmeasured), reduction of parking lot use homes.(again an estimate) and, primarily, its good-will function. The van service is advertised The most innovative Fiesta shuttle origi-throughout the store and in distributed nated as a program conceived by an Afri-newsprint flyers which in turn represents an can-American employee of what was then aimportant marketing tool for the store itself. Safeway store. When the Safeway store wentCustomer goodwill has also expressed itself out of business, a group of its workers pur-in a number of ways, most notably during chased the store and created a new foodthe May 1992 civil disorder when Fine’s cus- market, known as Appletree. The van ser-tomers stopped people from breaking into vice continued and expanded under the newthe store. As a community service, the van Appletree management. When Fiestaprogram establishes, according to store bought out Appletree, it decided to continueowner Allan Fine, a way for Fine’s to “put the van service, a decision that reflected thesomething back into the community”. Rec- program’s popularity. Fiesta store manage-
    • Page 40 Homeward Boundment also sought to restructure the program which, at its peak, (before the expansion ofto tie it directly to its airport shuttle busi- the van program) had included two driversness. and an 18 foot trailer used almost continu- ously. “Lack of transportation is a significantThe Fiesta service has pick up and drop off issue my customers face,” explains Fiestadestinations at a set route, with regular stops manager Tom Skelley, arguing further thatat eleven different apartment complexes the program has successfully allowed Fiestawithin approximately a one mile radius from to develop both a loyal customer base and athe store. The stop locations have been iden- highly visible marketing strategy with re-tified in conjunction with managers of the spect to its major constituency from theapartment complexes who in turn take re- apartment complexes. Food access in thissponsibility for posting bilingual van sched- context represents more than a transporta-ules at each building site. The van operates tion service, but the ability to identify com-seven days a week, with at least one apart- munity needs and interests and maintain ament complex served each day and some valuable historical identity.complexes served several times during theweek. Van service begins at 10AM and runscontinuously until 5 PM, at about 30 minute The Spirit of Kroger Transportationintervals during the busiest periods such as Shuttle/Savannah, Georgiaweekends. The vans have a 17 person capac-ity and groceries can be placed on the lug- In March 1993, the Kroger Company initi-gage racks. The service is free. Most custom- ated a transportation service called “Theers tend to be women and children (a sec- Spirit of Kroger Transportation Shuttle”. Theond Fiesta program about four miles away shuttle was established to pick up shoppersserves primarily senior citizens). On a given at specific sites, such as public housing unitsweekend day, the program might transport and senior citizen complexes, and deliver60-70 shoppers from a single apartment them to the Kroger stores closest to each site.complex. The three drivers used for the ser- At a designated time (usually one hour af-vice are employed by Fiesta and also work ter shoppers had been dropped off at thein other capacities for the store. Fiesta’s stores), those using the service would be re-umbrella insurance plan covers the vans and turned to each of the pick up points. A fewcosts (and benefits) are not segregated out. of the shoppers using the service (e.g., apart- ment residents, those who are physicallyThis Fiesta van service is considered a model handicapped, etc.) are brought directly toprogram by its store manager, and has re- their doorsteps. The driver is a Kroger em-ceived national attention (most notably a ployee (a former department head) who isNational Public Radio news segment that well versed in the customer service aspectaired November 22, 1995). However, the of the program; that is, helping establish anprogram is also a product of the store’s own environment of Kroger service for peoplehistory, circumstances and management in- with specific transportation needs. 5terests (the van service is store specific andnot a company wide policy), including its The Spirit of Kroger shuttle operates six daysorigins as a Safeway/Appletree program. a week, Monday through Saturday, betweenThere is significant walk-in traffic and cart 9AM and 7PM. There is no cost to the shop-loss has also been a major factor. Fiesta has per, and, in its first three years of operation,maintained its own cart retrieval service, five of Kroger’s ten stores in the Savannah
    • Homeward Bound Page 41area participated in the program. There are CONSTITUENT SERVICES27 routes as part of the program, three of (Transportation for Senior Citizens)them repeat routes. The shuttle has a 15 per-son capacity and, as of April 1996, approxi- Von’s Leisure World Shuttle Servicemately 200 to 220 customers used the ser- Laguna Hills, Californiavice each week. The shuttle’s schedule isprinted in the “Penny Saver” magazine One of the primary constituencies for foodwhich in turn has served as an important access programs are senior citizens, particu-source of positive publicity for the store larly in communities with large senior popu-chain. Kroger has not undertaken a full cost- lations and residential homes or centers,benefit analysis of the program, but has as- such as retirement communities. Among thesumed that, aside from the public relations best known retirement communities inbenefits, the service has created a larger vol-Southern California (where many suchume of sales to partially offset the specific housing arrangements can be found) is thecosts of the program. Cart loss issues have Leisure World complex in Laguna Hills innot figured prominently in the program’s Orange County. Leisure World housesassessment, although some of the participat- 18,000 residents in a 3.27 square mile area.ing Kroger stores have had a chronic prob- Although a number of residents own andlem with carts being taken by walk-in cus- use cars, a substantial constituency of resi-tomers. dents cannot or do not choose to use their vehicles for getting around Leisure WorldThe primary motivation for the program had or to access neighboring services, includingits origins in the public controversies asso- food stores. The closest full service foodciated with Kroger’s decision to close one market for the majority of Leisure Worldof its stores located in a low income com- residents is a Vons’ market, a major retailermunity where there had been considerable in the region (Vons is the second largest su-walk-in traffic, according to Ken Lane, the permarket chain in Southern California).shuttle program’s director. “We received a While there is public transportation adjacentlot of adverse publicity about the store clos- to the Leisure World complex and a shuttleing,” Lane commented, “including com- bus service within the complex with 12plaints that local area residents would no routes serving nearly 60,000 riders perlonger be able to shop at a supermarket.” 6 month, a number of residents prefer or needBy establishing the shuttle service, Kroger a door to door service for their grocery shop-hoped to counter the negative publicity and ping. By having to carry groceries from theenhance its reputation as a service-oriented Leisure World bus stop to their homes, it lim-operation in a highly competitive market. In its the amount of groceries that could beterms of that objective, Kroger management purchased.7sees the program as an important success. Until the early 1990s, one of the more fre- quently used door-to-door services was the Dial-a-ride program. When Dial-a-ride can- celed its services in Orange County in the fall of 1994 due to budget cuts, SuperShuttle, a transport service primarily used for air- port routes, was approached by Leisure World residents to provide a replacement
    • Page 42 Homeward Boundservice for Dial-a-ride for two grocery stores, SuperShuttle resources. A new store-to-the nearby Vons store as well as an home shuttle service from Vons to LeisureAlbertsons market which was at a slightly World was initiated in March 1995, just onefurther distance from Leisure World. Dial- month after the SuperShuttle service hada-ride had charged each customer 90 cents stopped, with an increase in service fromper trip, while the SuperShuttle program two to three days a week.was established at a $2.00 charge per per-son. The SuperShuttle program, despite a fee The program consists of the following: resi-of $2 per passenger for the door-to-door dents are encouraged to take the publicdelivery, was a money loser for transportation to the store and then VonsSuperShuttle, which estimated a charge of returns customers to their doorstep, with the$4.00 per person in order to make any profit. driver frequently carrying groceries into theThe program, however, in response to strong homes. Vons leases the shuttle and drivercommunity interest, was also initiated in from SuperShuttle at a slightly discountedpart as a loss-leader to establish specific hourly rate. (The general, non-discountedmarketing goals (e.g., attracting seniors to hourly charter rate for SuperShuttle vans inuse the airport shuttle). The Leisure World Orange County has been $40/hour — $30/citizen group hoped to make the program hour at the time the Vons program was ini-more permanent by obtaining long term tiated). In return, SuperShuttle assumes allfunding from Leisure World’s own Golden vehicle labor, insurance, and maintenanceRain Foundation. When the foundation costs and liabilities. The shuttle runs be-funding was not obtained, the citizen’s tween 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM Mondays,group started a “Shopping Shuttle Group” Thursdays, and Fridays. The service is lim-to raise the additional $2 per person. As a ited to Leisure World residents who shop atresult of that effort, the program kept oper- Vons. There is no charge to the passenger,ating for another several weeks. though a number of residents tip the driverSuperShuttle, however, finally suspended when bags are carried into the home. Thethe service when the additional funds were store has an in-house passenger numberingno longer generated.8 and announcement system to help custom- ers queue up for rides when they finishAs soon as the shuttle service was canceled, shopping. Departures are not scheduled;Leisure World residents began mobilizing to instead, the van leaves when it is full orreestablish a shuttle program. Albertsons, nearly full, depending on the elapsed timemeanwhile, contracted with another char- involved. Each run is about one hour inter transportation company (which had length and the van holds a maximum ofother Albertsons accounts) to provide a van seven passengers. There is an average of sixservice, though the service did not include runs a day, and the van is almost always full.door to door service. Vons then became the The average passenger count is 35-40 pas-focus of community activity, with residents sengers on Mondays, and 45-50 passengersmobilizing for a service which represented on Thursdays and Fridays. There is also as-their only venue for continued grocery shop- sistance for mobility-impaired riders.9ping at that store. In response to the vigor-ous and well organized campaign as well The shuttle service is advertised in the localas the fear of competition represented by the paper and is seen by Vons as a useful mar-Albertsons service, Vons decided to initiate keting tool. Though Vons was pressured byits own program, based on the use of residents to continue the service, store man-
    • Homeward Bound Page 43agement subsequently recognized the sig- In response to this need, the Hartford Foodnificant community benefits of the program, System established in 1992 a grocery deliv-even though no effort had been made to ery program for home bound seniors. Thequantify such benefits as increased pur- program, formally known as the Grocerychases or reduction in car use. The program Delivery Service for Homebound Seniorsinstead is seen as a “community service” that (the “Service”) is largely supported throughhelps distinguish Vons from its competitors, small grants and provides about 150 deliv-as store manager Barry Kidd characterized eries per month. Between January 1, 1995it. Soon after the service was reinstated, for and September 30, 1995, for example, theexample, Vons received upwards of 100 to Service made 1,156 deliveries to 92 different200 letters from Leisure World residents customers for a total grocery value ofcomplimenting the store’s action. It has ul- $40,000, with average order size approxi-timately become a showcase for that Vons mately $35. The most frequently cited rea-outlet. 10 sons for using the service were access related (e.g., those who “could not get out” or “just got out of the hospital”, according to a Gro-Grocery Delivery Service for Homebound cery Delivery Service survey of programSeniors/Hartford, CT participants). Though the program has been small and limited in its ability to address theIn 1978, the city of Hartford, Connecticut needs of homebound seniors in the Greaterprovided the startup resources for an inde- Hartford area, it nevertheless represents apendent food security advocacy organiza- modest beginning, according to Hartfordtion, the Hartford Food System. This orga- Food System executive director Marknization helped sponsor a range of innova- Winne. “Seniors as a group are often left outtive food security-oriented programs, in- of the food system,” Winne argues. “Thiscluding a downtown farmers’ market ori- type of program helps them maintain theirented towards low income buyers, commu- independent lifestyle. In many cases it isnity gardens, local food stands, and a coop- the only way people can get affordableerative buying program. The organization food.” 12also focused on issues of transportation andfood access, noting both the lack of super-markets in Hartford’s low income commu- PUBLIC TRANSIT PROGRAMSnities and the low vehicle ownership figuresfor those same communities. Many residents Bus Services/Knoxville, Tennesseein low income communities in Hartford andother cities in Connecticut had also become Use of public transportation continues toheavily dependent on public transportation represent one of the most important yet of-for food shopping; one ridership survey by ten more problematic methods of achievingConnecticut Transit found that 25% of the food access. People without cars rely onresponding bus passengers indicated they busses, and, occasionally where available,used the bus specifically for trips to food public paratransit programs to reach foodstores.11 These transit dependencies are par- stores not immediately accessible by foot.ticularly a concern for senior citizens who Bus routes and services, however, as previ-lack both mobility and transportation re- ously discussed, are not oriented towardssources. intra-neighborhood needs such as food shopping. However, some communities
    • Page 44 Homeward Boundhave developed programs that have sought carts) and in establishing a better commu-to influence existing municipal bus and nications link between the Food Policytransportation services to address access is- Council and the transit agency. Subse-sues. Programs initiated through the Knox- quently, the transit agency began to regu-ville, Tennessee Food Policy Council provide larly consult with the FPC regardingan important example of that effort.13 changes in bus routes with respect to food access issues. One notable example includedThe Knoxville Food Policy Council, one of a remapping of another bus service route tothe first such Councils to be established at include stops at a shopping center and athe municipal level, initiated several bus- nearby farmers’ market which had previ-related access programs soon after it was ously not been well served by public trans-created. The most ambitious of those efforts, portation. In this case, while transit planningthe Knoxville Shop and Ride Program, was came to be associated with food accessdeveloped as a direct food transit service. needs, it was facilitated by the presence of aThe Food Policy Council received from the food policy and planning process.municipal transit agency a full sized buswhich was retrofitted with racks and shelvesfor grocery bags to serve as a “grocery bus”. The Grocery Bus/Austin, TexasThe bus route included both a low incomehousing project and a senior citizen high rise Austin, Texas’s “Grocery Bus” is perhaps thehousing complex that terminated at a local only publically run bus line in the countryfood store. The service was partly subsidized specifically designed to take shoppers fromthrough general bus operation funds, with a food access deficient community to super-remaining funds generated through a small markets in neighboring communities. Trav-charge for bus riders. In order for the ser- eling north-south through the low income,vice to break even, riders needed to be primarily Latino community known as thebatched; though efficiency of service re- Eastside, its endpoints are two supermar-mained a continuous problem when there kets, each a few miles to the north and southwere not enough riders to batch effectively. respectively of the heart of the Eastside com-The program worked best when a key vol- munity. This line provides access for 23,000unteer helped outreach efforts to identify Eastside residents, many of whom are with-riders for the program; when that volunteer out vehicles and have been dependent onleft the program, effective batching became more costly and/or inaccessible food out-even more problematic. As a result, the ser- lets.vice was terminated after only a few months. Initiated in January 1996, the Grocery BusThe Knoxville Food Policy Council was runs 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, at 30more successful in lobbying the municipal minute intervals. Passengers are charged 50transportation agency to extend by a few cents per ride. It was established at the re-miles regular bus service from a low income quest of the Austin/Travis County Foodneighborhood to a shopping center with a Policy Council, in response to a study issuedconcentration of grocery stores situated in a by the Sustainable Food Center (SFC), a foodmiddle income neighborhood. This pro- security policy and advocacy organizationgram was judged a success, both in terms of described in Section I. The study, Accessincreased sales at the stores (including an Denied, chronicled the lack of competitivelyincrease in sales of individual mini folding priced supermarkets on the Eastside while
    • Homeward Bound Page 45documenting the need for affordable trans- nity members have embraced the programportation programs to take transit depen- for its added convenience and financial ben-dent residents to outlying supermarkets. efits. Cost savings are associated with both the reduced time in getting to a store whichThe route was developed as a collaboration has lower prices, and, for many, the elimi-between Capital Metro (the local transit au- nation of one or more bus rides, or taxi fares.thority), the Food Policy Council, commu- In addition, the route may not prove asnity members, and the supermarkets. Kate costly as initially anticipated. While CapitalFitzgerald, executive director of the SFC and Metro has lost money and thus needed tomember of the Food Policy Council, notes subsidize its other routes, preliminary indi-that it was relatively easy to convince Capi- cations suggest that the Grocery Bus mighttal Metro to start up the route. “After seeing achieve the strongest financial results amongthe need for the route, they inventoried their all Capital Metro routes. Thus, the agencyresources and determined that they could has become extremely pleased with the ini-do it.”14 Capital Metro did however require tial outcome, and has approached the Foodproof of community interest and need. As Policy Council about expanding this servicepart of this process, the Sustainable Food into other underserved communities.Center conducted more than 200 interviews,documenting where community members Key to the success, both present and future,wanted the bus line to go, where they like of the Grocery Bus is the partnership be-to shop, and at what times they would like tween the Sustainable Food Center’s com-the bus to run. As a consequence, Capital munity connections and innovative outreachMetro decided to establish the program efforts, the resources provided by Capitalbased on a circular route pattern; that is, a Metro, and the interest of the supermarkets.route that remains primarily within a de- While Capital Metro paid for the printingfined community or neighborhood’s bound- of 50,000 flyers announcing the new line inaries. Shifting to such an approach reflected both Spanish and English, SFC obtained thea change in route planning for Metro. It was, volunteer services of a graphic artist to de-according to Metro’s general manager, sign the flyers, and has taken responsibilityMichael Bolton, “the whole notion of hav- for distributing them. Once Capital Metroing the bus work within the neighborhood. dedicates buses entirely to this route, theEverything doesn’t have to go down- SFC would like to have them painted withtown.”15 colorful illustrations of different food items to assist in outreach to non-English speak-Fitzgerald believes that the primary reason ing and/or non-literate Eastside residents.that Capital Metro established the Grocery Finally, the two supermarkets being servicedBus was to improve its public image, which by the route have been very supportive. Onehas suffered due to poor service. This strat- of these, a Fiesta Market, has noted that theegy appears to be working. In its first few Bus has made a positive difference in theirweeks of operation, ridership was low. Soon business, while a second store, HEB, hasafter the service began to receive greater vis- expressed interest in placing an advertise-ibility within the community, however, the ment in a local paper, showcasing the im-program took off. “It was like wildfire, with proved access to the store provided by thepacked busses and lots of word of mouth” Grocery Bus. Nevertheless, there are still acommented Grocery Bus driver Mary number of residents who do not know aboutMitchell to the Austin Statesman..16 Commu- the new route, and continue to take other,
    • Page 46 Homeward Boundmore inconvenient bus lines, according to that are on the HOP route, particularly forFitzgerald. Continued and innovative out- use during working hours. More generally,reach is the key to making the new bus line shopping has been identified as a primarya more permanent success.17 objective by HOP riders. The HOP was initially funded through a $1.4The HOP Shuttle/Boulder, Colorado million federal ISTEA grant which paid for capital costs, staff time in developing theIn 1994, The City of Boulder, Colorado initi- program, and operating expenses for theated an innovative, alternative fuels, first three months. The largest up front ex-paratransit shuttle service called the HOP pense was the purchase of the liquid pro-service. The program consisted of eight liq- pane vehicles which cost $125,000 per ve-uid propane shuttles that travelled a circu- hicle. Operating funds are now derived fromlar loop connecting Downtown Boulder a public-private joint venture between the(which included a pedestrian-only open air City’s Public Works Department (which pro-mall), the University of Colorado, and an- vides 75% of the funds) and three other en-other major commercial thoroughfare which tities — the Central Area General Improve-housed a large indoor shopping mall. Six ment District, the Boulder Urban Renewalshuttles run the route at any one time, at ten Authority, and the University of Colorado,minute frequencies. The shuttles are smaller which account for the remaining 25%. Whilethan busses and have periphery seating and identifiable service costs (estimated at 95large windows. One goal of the program has cents per passenger or $710,000 annually,been to create a more inviting environment including capital recovery costs) are greaterassociated with the smaller, quieter, and than revenues derived from cash fares (25airier vehicles, demonstrating a “different” cents per passenger, 15 cents for seniors, andway of providing transit service.18 various student passes and promotional fares), intangible benefits derived from re-Part of that difference included establishing duced drive-alone trips, reduced congestion,the shuttle service as an integral part of street and increased shopping, among others, arelife, since the shuttles were low to the considered significant.ground, had a large number of windows forviewing both in and out, and had been con- The HOP, in fact, has been judged success-ceived of as pedestrian friendly (that is, not ful from its beginnings. Ridership levelsan obstacle or danger to pedestrian activity). were originally forecast at 2000 riders perIn addition, by designing the program day, but already achieved 4300 riders a dayaround the use of alternative fuel vehicles, by 1996. Those numbers are in excess ofthe HOP also sought to create an environ- HOP’s original perceived optimum carryingmental identity for the service. capacity of 4000 riders a day. A recent sur- vey on municipal programs has also indi-The HOP program is advertised as a conve- cated widespread support for the conceptnient way to access shopping, work, and of the shuttle service — 92.6% of survey re-recreational activities. While not specifically spondents either “strongly supported” ororganized to address food shopping needs “somewhat strongly supported” shuttle pro-as such, one key aspect of the program that grams like the HOP, which represented thehas been emphasized is its ability to provide highest percentage received of any of theaccess to a food store and a farmers’ market programs surveyed. However, the issue of
    • Homeward Bound Page 47access and transit dependency has remained graphics, is based on a home shopping ser-secondary to the visual and environmental vice program where orders (based on spe-attractiveness and “street life” aspects of the cific items identified through an 8,000 itemprogram. Byerly’s catalogue) can be processed by phone (at a charge of $9.95 per order) or through fax or computer (at a charge of HOME DELIVERY AND $8.95).20 The service is available at nine of SHOPPER SERVICES the ten Byerly’s markets located in the Min- neapolis-St. Paul area, and is under consid-“Byerly’s To You” Store-to-Door Service — eration but not yet available at Byerly’sByerly’s/Twin Cities stores in Chicago. Orders placed before noon can be delivered between 6-9PM that day.One of the more rapidly expanding trans- Orders placed after 12 noon will be deliv-portation-based food related activities in ered the next day either between 1-4 PM orrecent years has been the development of 6-9 PM. Although most of the orders are ini-home shopping and food delivery services. tiated by phone, as much as one third of theThese services, primarily defined as services ordering has been done through fax or com-for middle income consumers (particularly puter. Customers of the service, which wassingle parent or dual income households), initiated in the Spring of 1996, have includedare also likely to significantly expand in con- working parents (including, for example,junction with growing computer on line ser- fathers with part time jobs), senior citizens,vices where food orders can be taken and disabled, and other (largely middle income)deliveries set. These programs depend on transit dependent constituents. In its firstphone, fax, or internet connections to place several months of operation, about 200 or-orders, many of which are catalogue based. ders per week were being processed.2119 The motivation for establishing a home de-The primary factors influencing the devel- livery service for Byerly’s management hasopment of on-line services have been con- been to extend a service (and attract newvenience and time savings rather than food customers) for those customers seeking timeaccess. Food markets participating in such saving options, and for whom weekly shop-programs tend to seek out higher end de- ping has become a time constraint. Linkingmographics for more expensive items. The a delivery service to a transport program,home shopping/home delivery programs, however, has not been explored. Instead, themoreover, are costly in their own right, of- delivery vehicles and labor utilized haveten several times more expensive for the been purchased through a third party con-customer than a van service or other store- tract. However, those evaluating the pro-based transport program. Yet even higher gram for Byerly’s have estimated that se-cost programs may involve food access/ niors and disabled — key transit dependenttransit dependent-related participation as constituents — account for as much as onewell. third of the delivery service customer base. Constituents have also inquired whether theOne recent example of this type of service is program could include unpacking and put-“Byerly’s To You” Store-to-Door Service pro- ting away food items at a customer’s home.gram. The Byerly’s program, primarily Currently, there is no store-based transit pro-aimed at the chain store’s higher end demo- gram (other than the home delivery service)
    • Page 48 Homeward Boundat any Byerly’s market, although a few se- “Groceries-to-Go” operates on the followingnior citizen high rise developments have basis. A customer calls in a grocery orderestablished their own van service, which over the phone to a Kroger employee whoincludes stops at Byerly’s stores. then does the “shopping” for the order. The groceries are subsequently delivered to theA more elaborate delivery service that has customer’s house the next day. Orders mustbecome its own “food business” is the Pink be placed at least a day in advance and canDot program in southern California which be faxed as well as phoned. Deliveries arehas focused on both transportation and con- made Monday through Saturday, duringvenience factors for building its business. daytime and evening hours, at prearrangedInitiated in 1988 at a single location, the Pink times. If a question about a particular itemDot program today consists of five locations arises during the “shopping”, or if an itemwith three different food stores providing is unavailable, the employee immediatelythe items ordered. Pink Dot items, listed in calls the customer to clarify the order or toa catalogue that is widely distributed in the ask if the unavailable item should be re-area to be serviced, includes standard brand placed by an alternative product. The costname food items as well as bakery items, of the service is $7.50 for seniors, and $10salads, sandwiches, and other prepared for all other customers. Payment for the gro-foods. Non-food items ranging from medi- ceries is made on delivery. Food stamps arecines to video games are also available. The also accepted. A modified “pick up” servicecost of delivery is only $1.99, although the is also available at a $3 charge, where Krogeritems to be ordered are priced above most employees undertake the shopping based onequivalent items at supermarkets. Orders the order, but the customer subsequentlyare also made through phone or computer. picks up the groceries at a specified time.The Pink Dot attraction is the delivery ser-vice itself rather than the items carried. And Several Kroger employees are used at dif-although convenience is the core marketing ferent times to staff the program, includingstrategy, access issues for those who are filling the approximately 20 to 30 orders thathomebound or without cars has also con- are received on average each day withintributed to Pink Dot’s attraction as a deliv- approximately a five mile radius from theery service.22 store. Most of the “Groceries-to-Go” cus- tomers are seniors. A few others are busi- nesses, and as many as 4 orders a day come“Groceries-to-Go” — Kroger Stores/At- from low income customers who are as-lanta, Georgia sumed to not have access to a car. One Kroger employee identified 15 regular “Gro-The Kroger Stores, the largest food chain in ceries-to-Go” customers who fit this low in-the state of Georgia, established a food de- come/transit dependent profile.24 For thislivery program called “Groceries-to-Go”, constituency and others, “Groceries-to-Go”which had originated in a program estab- represents Kroger’s only transportation-re-lished in conjunction with an order and de- lated program.livery service jointly owned by IBM andSears. Though the program, as it evolved,was developed at several locations, by 1996only one store in Atlanta continued to oper-ate the program.23
    • Homeward Bound Page 49 EMPLOYEE AND COMMUNITY This division of power was most notable in PROGRAMS the situation that unfolded in the Fairpark area of Dallas, a low income, ethnically di-Multicultural Relations/Dallas-Fort Worth, verse neighborhood where, until AugustTexas 1995, Minyard had operated two full service food markets, sized at 16,000 and 20,000In 1994, Minyard Stores, a food retail chain square feet, respectively. In August 1995,with 80 stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Minyard closed both stores and opened in-decided to establish a new community out- stead a much larger, 51,000 square foot fullreach staff role which it called the service market (equivalent to a small sized“multicultural relations coordinator” posi- supercenter). By doing so, Minyard createdtion. The Minyard Stores chain, several of significant food access problems for the largewhose outlets had been located in low in- walk-in trade associated with the stores thatcome communities, served a broad and di- had closed, particularly for one site moreverse constituency of shoppers. These in- distant from the new market. A number ofcluded walk-ins or those dependent on pub- community meetings ensued, which in-lic transportation systems. Those area tran- cluded discussions with the multiculturalsit systems, in turn, had not been oriented relations coordinator, but the issue of a newtowards food or other intra-neighborhood access-related program was never ad-services. Minyard management was also dressed. Minyard management insteadinterested in drawing on a more ethnically sought to change the bus routes of the Dal-diverse work force, hoping especially to hire las Area Rapid Transit agency (DART) soa larger number of Spanish speaking em- that shoppers could access the store by tak-ployees. ing only one rather than two busses. At the same time, Minyard allowed an informalMinyard’s multicultural relations coordina- “transit” service provided by an “indepen-tor position was unique for the food retail dent contractor”; that is, a retired personindustry. The position’s definition was rela- who would offer a shopper a ride home fortively open-ended. It included efforts at in- a fee that was less expensive than taxi ser-creased purchasing from minority and fe- vice.male vendors; community liaison activity atdifferent store sites; creating linkages be- Minyard had, during this process, privatelytween store employees and their ethnic explored the option of developing a com-counterparts in communities; and establish- munity van service program. But store man-ing stronger ethnic representation in the agers quickly dropped the idea due to liabil-Minyard work force. While store specific is- ity concerns and the uncertain benefits andsues such as access, cart loss, or other trans- community relations issues associated withportation-related issues were not part of the such a service. Minyard’s Director of Realprofile of the position, the community rela- Estate, David Hardin, explained that the areations aspect of such an outreach position that needed to be served was a “roughcould conceivably draw attention to such neighborhood”, conceivably jeopardizingissues. However, decision-making on trans- the driver of the van. The difficulty of de-portation programs at Minyard remained termining benefits in relation to costs wassignificantly a financial issue outside the also never resolved; for example, cart loss,multicultural relations coordinator’s sphere which was substantial, was never factoredof activity. 25 in on the benefit side. Even the good will
    • Page 50 Homeward Boundaspect of such a program was discounted on company’s relationship with the non-profitthe basis that if a program were initiated but agency. A van service was subsequently de-then discontinued because of concerns re- veloped, which expanded the possibilitiesgarding costs and/or liabilities, then com- of inner city recruitment. Between 12 and 15munity discontent could become a trouble- employees used this reverse commute pro-some and unwelcomed factor. “It’s hard gram while it was operating. The van pro-enough to figure out the benefits,” Hardin gram was eventually folded when the candyargued, “but what happens when you take rebagging operations were sold.27them away. We decided to let DART and theindependent contractor handle the access Though the van service idea was never ex-issue. It is, after all, their business.” 26 tended to other operations, it did lead to in- creased attention to employee transporta- tion needs, given the company’s emphasisWorker Transit/Chaska, Minnesota on recruiting a low wage labor force. Dis- cussions were initiated with the area trans-The issue of community responsibility and portation agency, Southwest Metropolitantransit needs associated with the food retail Transit, to extend bus service to varioussector extends to questions of employee ac- Chaska business sites, as part of a more ex-cess to food manufacturing, food packaging, tensive “reverse commute” strategy. Meet-or retail store locations. Food companies that ing employee transportation needs throughdepend on and/or seek to recruit workers improved bus service also became the goal(many of whom reside in low income com- of two suburban Cleveland food retail out-munities) to be employed at company sites lets (Twin Valu supercenter stores) within(several of which are located at suburban the Supervalu chain. About 40% of the twosites often distant from worker residences) stores’ employees required public transpor-also confront the possibility of needing to tation to get to work but the bus systems inaddress significant transportation needs. In those areas were not reliable. Store manag-1991, Preferred Products inc., the private la- ers worked with transportation officials tobel operation of the Supervalu food store create new bus stops, bus shelters, and ar-chain in the upper Midwest, sought to ad- ranged to sell bus passes at service desks.dress this problem by establishing a van ser- An unintended benefit of the changes in busvice program in collaboration with a non- service was improved access for shoppers,profit inner city agency for one of its loca- many of whom relied on public transporta-tions. PPI had a candy rebagging operation tion.28 Despite those benefits, Supervalu hasin Chaska, Minnesota which employed not explored further a shopper-based trans-about 50 people year round. The company portation program for its various outlets.had a particular need for an additional 100employees during its “seasonal spike” pe-riod from June to December when much of California Food Policy Advocates/Santhe packaging work was undertaken. Unem- Francisco, Californiaployment was low in the Chaska area, butsignificantly higher in low income commu- Still in a planning phase is California Foodnities in the Minneapolis region. The com- Policy Advocates’ (CFPA) paratransit servicepany at first sought to develop a taxi ser- for senior citizens in San Francisco. The sixvice for a few of its “hard-to-hire” employ- month planning phase will be completed byees who had been hired in part through the the Fall of 1996 at which time a year long
    • Homeward Bound Page 51demonstration project will begin. The project Safeway has expressed its eagerness in ac-will consist of connecting corporate owned commodating the seniors, many of whomand associated vans during their downtime are monolingual Chinese, through hiringperiod to senior housing projects in the Chinese-speaking clerks. Similarly, the Na-SOMA neighborhood for the purpose of tional Coalition on Aging, a non-profit or-food shopping at a local Safeway store. The ganization, has committed to using job train-program has multiple goals. These include ing funds to train and payimproving senior nutrition, increasing sales Safeway-employed seniors in these mentorand enhancing community relations for the positions. Hecht noted that though the do-supermarket, fostering vanpooling through nated mentoring may make the programcost reduction for the corporations as well more successful, it also could reduce theas encouraging corporate-required trip re- project’s replicability.ductions, and meeting the Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA) requirements for the While the stated purpose of the project is tomultiple transit agencies involved. be self-sustaining beyond the first year’s demonstration project, with Safeway to op-Operating on a fixed schedule five days/ erate the service, numerous barriers exist.week, five hours a day, the van (Chevron has Senior citizens typically spend little on food.already promised the use of a vehicle) will There is not a significant amount of shop-pick up the seniors living in high rise hous- ping cart loss that can be attributed to se-ing projects (population 2,000) near down- nior citizens. To date, the seniors have ex-town San Francisco, take them to a Safeway pressed resistance to paying for the service.adjoining the Mission District, and return Like many other programs cited in this re-them home again. According to Ken Hecht, port, this program may have a high com-co-director of CFPA and project director, munity relations value rather than a highmany of the residents at the senior homes monetary value from the supermarket’s per-are low-income, with a high percentage of spective. Hecht identified other barriers, in-Asian descent. The residents obtain their cluding initial reluctance to pursue the pro-food from a number of sources. Some have gram from both Safeway as well as from thetheir families bring in food; others go shop- seniors themselves.ping either in Chinatown or nearby super-markets; a small percentage of the food Nevertheless, the project might have itscomes from local convenience stores; while greatest chances for success through its in-others (30%) participate in the housing novative links to other public benefits andprojects’ congregate meals program. 29 players. Connections with transit agencies - who also have a stake in meeting theThe program hopes to extend the services project’s public policy goals of trip reduc-provided beyond those offered through the tions and access for disabled persons- as wellvan drop off/paratransit-type services com- as with corporations with a desire formonly associated with food stores, such as low-cost public relations efforts, bring ad-those described in this report. Concerned ditional stakeholders and resources into theabout the problems associated with drop- food system. This diversification may makeping off seniors in a potentially confusing the difference between the project’s successand disorienting environment, volunteer and failure.“guides” will be made available to shepherdthe seniors through the store as needed.
    • Page 52 Homeward Bound JOINT VENTURES 1990. It contains a 44,000 square foot super- (COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS) market, and 23,000 square feet of satellite shops, including a restaurant and donutNew Communities Center-Pathmark Joint shop. The store has been extremely success-Venture/Newark, New Jersey ful, with the highest sales per square feet of all the Pathmark stores, and the most prof-The Pathmark store in Newark’s Central itable store per square feet in all of New Jer-Ward is located in a neighborhood reminis- sey. Its sales have exceeded managementcent of a bombed-out war zone, or down- projections by over 20%, encouraging NCCtown Managua, Nicaragua after the 1972 to consider its expansion, despite a lack ofearthquake. Vast blocks of empty lots, available adjoining land.31strewn with rubble, weeds, and chain linkfences dot the landscape. Nearby can be seen New Communities owns all of the shoppinghigh-rise housing projects, a vast hospital, center property, while Community Super-and a medical school. For nearly 25 years market Corporation (CSC), a joint venturethis Ward had no local supermarket. Super- of NCC and Supermarkets General, ownsmarkets avoided the neighborhood, (due in the store itself. As a landlord, NCC receivespart to its troubled history as a 1960s era riot rent from CSC. Since New Communities haszone) and its extreme poverty -- 40% of the a 2/3 interest in CSC, it receives 2/3 of thepopulation residing in census tracts adjoin- store’s profits. Supermarkets General in turning the store have incomes under the pov- receives a management fee, and the remain-erty line. This has occurred despite evidence ing 1/3 of the profits. In fiscal year 1993, thethat the area could support a full service store generated $1.2 million in profits.market. Although incomes are low, the areais densely populated. The supermarket is only one of a series of projects that NCC operates. It is one of theNew Communities Corporation (NCC), a largest CDCs in the country, and the largestcommunity development corporation that non-profit housing developer in New Jersey.was formed following the 1967 riots, initi- It has constructed 2,500 units of affordableated the process of developing a supermar- housing for more than 7,000 people, andket anchored shopping center in the area. In provides its own management, mainte-1980, NCC met with Supermarkets General nance, and security. It also has developed aCorporation (SGC), the parent company of variety of health services, including a HomePathmark supermarkets, to discuss the pos- Health Care program, a Medical Day Caresibility of a joint venture. A few years ear- Program, and an Extended Health Care Fa-lier, SGC had completed a similar project in cility. In addition, NCC is affiliated witha joint venture with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Babyland Nursery, which operates six dayRestoration Corporation. Although care centers with more than 600 children,Pathmark management was initially hesi- including a center for children with AIDS.tant about the Newark project, the Rever- Other projects include two employment cen-end William Linder, NCC’s founder, even- ters, a credit union with approximately $2tually persuaded them to participate.30 million in assets, and a for-profit monthly newspaper.32After a lengthy ten year process in assem-bling the land and obtaining the necessary Community participation occurs throughpermits, the shopping center opened in July, New Communities Programs as well as in
    • Homeward Bound Page 53more direct ways. The CSC board is com- service charged a per cart load ($2 + $1 perposed of community members, and meets child), but has since changed their faremonthly with Pathmark to discuss problems schedule to $5 per trip, with discounts foror issues related to the store. Board mem- seniors ($3) and for residents of NCC-ownedbers have made a number of recommenda- senior housing projects ($2). The van ser-tions which have contributed to the store’s vice does not have geographic boundaries,sales. For example, Pathmark followed the nor set routes, although most trips remainBoard’s suggestion to swap its proposed lob- within a five mile radius. By comparison,ster tank for a fresh fish department. one van driver estimated that $5 will buy aPathmark also took the group’s advice to taxi ride of 1.5-2 miles.style its produce department after a farm-ers’ market, and include a selection of spe- A dispatcher coordinates the service, whichcialty fruits and vegetables targeted towards carries an average of 400 persons per day.the area’s largely African-American and NCC varies the number of vans it operatesCaribbean residents. Both recommendations according to the store’s monthly cash flowhave been successful: according to store sur- charts. During the first ten days of eachveys the two departments are the most month, the peak shopping period, the ser-popular in the store. vice will carry about 500 persons per day, employing all eight vans. During peakAnother one of New Communities innova- times, customers may have to wait only fivetions is its van service. This service was a minutes for a ride. By comparison, duringnatural outgrowth of a transit program that off-peak times, when typically five vans arethey had operated previous to the opening in operation, the wait may be about 15-20of the Pathmark store, which took seniors minutes. Normally, the service operatesfrom NCC-owned housing to other stores from 9 am to 9 pm, without a set schedule.in Newark. Faithful to the needs of seniors On Sunday the service stops at 6 pm. Theliving in their housing projects, NCC con- service employs 13 drivers, all of whom aretinues to operate a drop-off service, which non-union, unlike the store employees,takes them to the store on a weekly basis. which, in turn, has lowered operating costs.Lynn Mertz, a planner with NCC explainedthis community-based approach, noting that After initiating the service during the earlythe store “belongs” to the seniors, who days of the store’s operation, sales per cus-helped them get it after ten years of fighting tomer increased from $8 to $18, parallel toCity Hall. The seniors formed the core of an chain-wide averages. Mertz argues that it iseffort to petition the Governor with 12,000 difficult to evaluate exactly what percentagesignatures to condemn the abandoned of this increase is due to the van service, asbuildings on the 61 lots comprising the prop- a number of other changes were made si-erty through eminent domain.33 multaneously. Unlike other stores that op- erate van services such as El Tapatio in LosThe primary focus of NCC’s van service, Angeles, Pathmark does not advertise itshowever, lies in providing shoppers with a van service. Mertz asserts instead that cus-ride home after purchasing their groceries. tomers are already familiar with it, and thereWhile the store does have an ample parking is no need to do so.lot, the majority of the store’s customer baseeither walk-in (an estimated 40%) or take the The built-in consumer base, comprised ofbus, according to Mertz. Initially, the van seniors living in NCC owned housing as
    • Page 54 Homeward Boundwell as a number of other factors make the van service, yet has gained through eitherNewark Pathmark a unique store. Across increased sales volume or improved good-the street from the store is the University of will and community relations. Despite thisDentistry and Medicine of New Jersey as general inattention to the financial costs ofwell as a hospital which provides the store the van service, NCC pledges to continue it,with a not unsubstantial flow of students, insofar as it enjoys great popularity amongvisitors, and employee shoppers. Through the store’s shoppers, primarily due to thea series of actions, NCC has formulated what CDC’s commitment to serving the needs ofamounts to a broadly conceived “transpor- the community. Ultimately, NCC’s van ser-tation policy”, encouraging the use of its van vice has served to reinforce the overall vi-service. First, for security reasons, it has ability of the joint venture agreement, ratherfenced and walled off the property, provid- than the joint venture itself assuming re-ing only one entrance and exit to the street. sponsibility for initiating and underwritingIn the middle of this narrow driveway, sits the program.a booth, occupied by a security guard. Thephysical constraints of the property and thepresence of the guard ensure that shoppingcarts are not taken off the premises. Second,the management has taken steps to removethe gypsy cabs which cluttered the narrowlanes of the parking lot, and competed withNCC for van customers.Furthermore, NCC’s vehicle pool is central-ized into a separate business unit (the gro-cery delivery business), which operates thevan service. The grocery delivery businessleases the vehicles from the credit union armof NCC which owns the vehicles. Duringtheir downtime, the vans are “borrowed”,without payment, to the parent corporationor to other programs of NCC such as itsMeals on Wheels program. This arrange-ment acts as a de facto subsidy on the partof the grocery delivery business to the par-ent corporation, making it difficult to iden-tify an overall financial accounting of the vanservice itself.Not only does the grocery delivery businesssubsidize NCC proper, but also SGC.Through paying the full cost of the servicewhile owning only two-thirds of the store,NCC has in fact subsidized Pathmark’sshare in the operating costs of the service.Pathmark has incurred no expenses for the
    • Homeward Bound Page 55 ENDNOTES : SECTION III1 . Seeds of Change, p. 134 11 . The survey results are cited in Toward Food Security in Connecticut, A Report of2 . Interview with Ed Torres, May 1995; See the City of Hartford’s Planning and Devel-also Andy Fisher & Robert Gottlieb, “Bring- opment Committee’s Ad Hoc Food Securitying Home the Broccoli: Innovative Food Committtee, Hartford, Ct., April 1996, p.15Related Transit Programs”, Community FoodSecurity News, Winter/Spring 1996, p. 1 12 . See, “The Grocery Delivery Service for Homebound Seniors and The Senior Farm-3 . Interview with Allan Fine, May 1995 ers’ Market Coupon Program: Reports for 1995", Hartford Food System, 1995; “Grocery4 . Interview with Tom Skelley, February Delivery Service Fills Need”, Mark Winne,1996 Hartford Courant, June 28, 1993; Interview with Mark Winne, April 19965 . Interview with Ken Lane 4/8/1996. Seealso “The Kroger Co. and the City of Savan- 13 Interview with Robert Wilson, Marchnah, Ga.” in Cities and Supermarkets: Part- 1996ners in Progress: Case Studies of SuccessfulCollaborative Programs, Washington D.C.: 14 Interview with Kate Fitzgerald, May,National League of Cities and Food Market- 1996ing Institute, 1995, p. 28 15 . “Cap Metro Adds Route for E. Austin6 . Interview with Ken Lane, 4/8/96 Shoppers”, Debbie Hott, Austin American Statesman, January 22, 1996.7 . Interview with Colleen Leslie (Profes-sional Community Management Inc) May 16 . Cited in Austin American Statesman, Janu-1996; Leisure World Transportation — Bus ary 22, 1996.Ridership Totals by Month, 1996. 17 Interview with Kate Fitzgerald, May8 . “Super Deal?”, Los Angeles Times, Orange 1996. See also Community Food Security News,County edition, December 6, 1994; “To the Winter/Spring 1996, p. 1Rescue: Market Comes Through withShopper’s Van”, Leisure World News, Febru- 18 . ”HOP Shuttle Service Profile”, City ofary 16, 1995. Interview with Lou Ann Boulder, Colorado, May 24, 1995LaPorte, SuperShuttle, June 1996 19 See, for example, the new “Shopping9 . Letter from Lou Ann LaPorte to Bob Alternatives” home page (shopalt@intr.net)Gottlieb, June 6, 1996. Interview with that lists several internet-based home deliv-Veronica Gnasso, SuperShuttle, 9/19/95; ery service programs in such communitiesInterview with Julie Reynolds, Vons, Janu- as Charlotte, North Carolina andary 1995. Spartanburg, South Carolina.10 . Interview with Barry Kidd, September 20 . “Byerly’s To You” Store Catalogue, 19961995.
    • Page 56 Homeward Bound21 . Interviews with Tracy Weesie, June 1996, nities Corporation — Joint Venture Helpsand Tammy Laska, April 1996 Revitalize Newark”, FMI Issues Bulletin, Food Marketing Institute, January 1993.22 . Interview with Darren Jordan, Pink Dot,May 1996 33 . Interview with Lynn Mertz, May 199523 . Lauren Lekoski, “Grocers Deliver theGoods”, Supermarket Business, vol. 44, no. 1,January 1989:43-4624 . Interview with Rhonda Taylor, Kroger’s“Groceries-to-Go”, 4/3/1996.25 . Interview with Gwen Yarbrough,Minyard Multicultural Relations Coordina-tor, April 1996; “Expanding the CorporateCulture”, Supermarket Business, May 1994, p.48; “Bridging the Gap”, Progressive Grocer,August 1993, p. 1226 . Interview with David Hardin, MinyardStores, Director of Real Estate, 4/25/9627 . Interview with Mike Overline, PreferredProducts Inc., Director of Human Resources,4/24/96.28 . “Getting Them There”, Progressive Gro-cer, May 1993, p. 12629 . Interview with Ken Hecht, CaliforniaFood Policy Advocates, May 1996.30 . See Testimony of Rev. Msgr. William J.Linder, Founder, New Communities Corpo-ration, before the U.S. House of Representa-tives Select Committee on Hunger, Septem-ber 30, 199231 . Interviews with Lynn Mertz, New Com-munities Corporation, May 1995, andRaymond Codey, May 1995.32 . “Building New Communities”, NormanJ. Glickman, CUP Report, Spring 1996, Vol.7, No. 1, p.1; “Pathmark and New Commu-
    • Homeward Bound Page 57 SECTION IV: THREE APPROACHES TO THE PROBLEM: ESTABLISHING THE FRAMEWORK FOR FOOD ACCESS The Need for Planning
    • Page 58 Homeward BoundF ood access programs today remain lished at varying levels. Such programs problematic for both transportation could be further extended or restructured to agencies, local governments, and the incorporate additional aspects of each of thefood retail industry. Though issues such as approaches presented here. The purpose ofcost of service are often cited, the difficul- the Section then is not so much to proposeties in establishing such programs have been replicability as to explore the ability of eachreinforced by the inability of government approach to help frame a food access plan-and industry to connect the issues of access ning process. These approaches, further-and transportation needs to food security more, are derived from the southern Cali-and food planning considerations. As a con- fornia region where problems of transit de-sequence, the costs of such programs almost pendence and food insecurity remain sub-invariably seem to outweigh their benefits, stantial and clearly require some form of in-underlined by the fact that many of the ben- tervention and/or planning approach toefits of a food access approach appear hard identify solutions. Thus, the question of howto quantify and are thus seen as items dis- the policy framework for such approachestinct from traditional balance sheet consid- can be established remains paramount, anerations. Transportation planning, often issue explored below in the context of theframed at the regional (or statewide and in- evolving debate regarding food securitytrastate) scale, also tends to ignore the com- policy in Los Angeles.munity side of transportation as related tosuch services as health care or food shop-ping. Where community-level transporta- ESTABLISHING THE PLANNING ANDtion planning occurs, it is most often associ- POLICY FRAMEWORKated with special needs populations or otherlimited, constituency-driven programs. The Los Angeles Food Security and Hun-These programs are not, however, primarily ger Partnershipdefined by the type of access need, includ-ing, most prominently, food security consid- The lack of a planning and policy frameworkerations (i.e., where food markets are located regarding food security (including food ac-and how to get there). Where food access/ cess) has been seen for a number of years astransportation initiatives exist, they also a particularly compelling concern in Lostend to be incidental to a broader agency or Angeles where Seeds of Change and otherindustry planning process and thus do not similar studies had documented the natureprovide an easily reduplicated model. and extent of food security problems in the region, including questions of food access.This Section identifies three possible ap- In 1994, a Voluntary Advisory Council onproaches with respect to food access for both Hunger (VACH), appointed by the Mayor,supermarkets and farmers’ markets or di- the City Council President, and the Commu-rect marketing outlets. These can be de- nity Development Department, was estab-scribed as the private sector approach; the lished to document conditions of hungerjoint venture approach; and the non-profit and food insecurity and propose a food-re-approach. While none of these approaches lated hunger policy for the City. Authoriza-is representative of the activities of markets tion for the VACH had its roots in a 1989or agencies at this time, possibilities of their City Council action that called for the cre-development are reflected in various ation of a nine member advisory body toprojects or programs that have been estab- oversee the development, coordination and
    • Homeward Bound Page 59promotion of a city policy on hunger. Imple- quasi-government commission with a non-mentation of the Council action, however, profit arm, which would be capable of rais-only occurred several years later in the af- ing separate funds and stimulating pilottermath of widespread publicity surround- projects. The Partnership, in turn, would being the publication of the Seeds of Change guided by a board of directors consisting ofreport, including a Los Angeles Times edito- specified slots for food system stakeholders,rial supporting the report’s recommendation including one ex officio slot reserved for acalling for the creation of a local Food Policytransportation agency official. A third non-Council.1 governmental entity, a research partnership between universities in the region, was alsoOnce appointed, the VACH, recognizing the proposed to analyze issue areas and targetbroader, community-based concerns associ- opportunities for innovation and interven-ated with food insecurity in the region, un- tion. For the partnership concept to succeed,dertook a series of Hearings on such issues VACH members argued, it would need toas nutritional concerns, food concerns of be a central part of the regional policy andchildren and seniors, implications of the fed- planning process, while also stimulating anderal devolution of safety net programs, and mobilizing a non-governmental or commu-alternative strategies such as community nity response to the issues. The value of suchgardens and farmers’ markets. While food mobilization had been further underlined byaccess was specifically highlighted during the parallel development of a Los Angelesone of the Hearings, it was also referenced Community Food Security Network, con-as a major food security indicator at several sisting of a number of food security focusedof the other sessions. At the conclusion of NGOs who had been monitoring the pro-the Hearings, the VACH developed its pro- ceedings of the VACH while simultaneouslyposed policy document on food security and developing their own community initiativeshunger, which it issued in draft form in No- on these issues. 4vember 1995. A final policy document, aswell as an organizational plan for implemen- Although food access emerged as only onetation, was approved by the VACH in April of several issue areas under consideration1996. Both the policy, the implementation by the VACH, it has nevertheless occupiedplan, and initial funding for the approach a central place in relation to the planningwere approved by the Los Angeles City aspects of the Partnership process. In thatCouncil in June 1996. 2 context, each of the three kinds of food ac- cess initiatives explored below (private; jointThe VACH proposal called for the creation venture; non-profit) involve strategic plan-of a “Food Security and Hunger Partner- ning based programs that could be stimu-ship” and adoption of a food security and lated and/or enhanced through the Partner-hunger mission statement for the City that ship framework. The private initiative relieswould provide the framework for future on a more elaborated form of cost-benefitpolicy. The partnership concept was elabo- analysis that incorporates certain factorsrated in part from an analysis of the activi- (e.g., shopping cart loss) that have been ab-ties of Food Policy Councils established in sent from such calculations. The joint ven-other communities, and discussed in Section ture proposal addresses the link betweenII.3 L.A.’s “Partnership” concept sought to food access, land use considerations (e.g.,draw from both the municipal/government parking lot size) and supermarket location.and non-profit models by linking a type of The non-profit program identifies the food
    • Page 60 Homeward Boundaccess issues and opportunities available lize in exploring the viability of a food ac-through a grower-to-consumer direct mar- cess/transport service. 5keting approach. Thus, the approaches pre-sented here, similar in some respects to sev- TCA, for one, tends to be industry and eveneral of the case studies described in Section facility specific. As elaborated in Section III,III, combine a food planning as well as trans- the key to any transportation service for su-portation planning process as the means by permarkets are the local dynamics that in-which such programs could be imple- fluence each particular program (e.g., neigh-mented. The existence of the Food Security borhood vehicle ownership per capita, pub-and Hunger Partnership could at the same lic transit availability, housing and residen-time initiate and/or help implement the tial densities, crime concerns, centralizedpolicy dimensions of such programs. locations for pick-ups, permit requirements, and so forth). Within each local setting, cer- tain key aspects of a program can be identi-PRIVATE OPPORTUNITIES: Stimulating fied, providing a broader cost accountingGreater Access to Supermarkets structure. By way of example, program costs for a supermarket store-to-home van serviceOne of the major barriers for initiating su- may include:permarket based transportation programshas been the prevailing assumptions — and • Purchase of Vehiclenarrowly construed information available — • Labor Costs for Vehicle Operationconcerning the costs and benefits of such • Insurance Costsprograms. Developing an approach for a • Non-Labor Operation & Maintenanceprivate initiative, such as a van/transport Costsservice for local residents in transit depen- • Permit and Operating Feesdent communities to and/or from a super- • Promotional Costsmarket, requires a framework that is able toincorporate factors often ignored or defined On the other side of the assessment process,as intangible or non-quantifiable in finan- the sources of program revenues and ben-cial terms. It also needs efits (both tangible andto expand the kinds of cal- intangible) may include:culations from which Ultimately, a more completecost-benefit assessments worksheet or evaluativeare derived. Those types • Additional Shoppingof calculations have often method is needed for any pri- Trips from New andbeen associated with vari- vate venture to assess Long Term Customersous environmental evalu- whether a food access/trans- • Customer and Com-ation techniques, particu- port program is completely munity Goodwilllarly a pollution preven- or even partially viable in • Free Publicitytion-linked total cost as- terms of the presumption of • Increased Store Salessessment (or full cost ac- from Larger Purchasescounting) approach. strict bottom line consider- • Van Service FeesTCA, in turn, provides ations. • Reduced Shoppingone type of framework for Cart Losscost-benefit analysis thatsupermarkets could uti- When retailers evaluate
    • Homeward Bound Page 61new programs to determine what are con- gram could become a more straightforwardsidered bottom line considerations, most as- evaluative task. Information for such evalu-sessments will attempt to quantify what is ation could include the number of new cus-readily available information, such as ve- tomers using the service; estimated saleshicle and labor costs, permitting and insur- receipts; average profit margin on sales; andance, and revenues generated from use of increased purchases from long term custom-the service as well as any potential subsi- ers due to participation in the service.dies to mitigate start up costs. What does Finally, an evaluation of reduced cart lossnot get included are the intangibles (e.g., can also be directly translated into informa-customer goodwill) as well as information tion about decreased costs, influencing anythat could be quantified but is often not as- overall assessment. However, determiningsociated with such a service (e.g., free pub- the full extent of such reduced costs, more-licity, increased store sales, or reduced cart over, is best addressed through the use of aloss). total cost assessment framework. For ex- ample, the costs from cart loss should notElaborating on those examples, promotional be quantified solely in terms of the replace-costs for retailers constitute an important ment cost of the cart. In addition, the re-expense, particularly in highly competitive trieval costs of carts returned, the labor costsmarkets like Los Angeles, where store dif- associated with handling retrieval and re-ferentiation (by product mix, price, etc.) is placement of the carts, and the present orcritical to the success of such promotion and future costs associated with fees through im-advertising. Thus, quantifying in dollar poundment laws or other regulations, needterms the publicity generated with little or to be represented. By calculating, in turn, theno cost (e.g., through scheduling informa- cost savings accruing from the reduction oftion, media coverage, community newslet- cart loss, fewer cart retrievals, lower laborters) can have significant bearing for any cost costs, and lower fees, among other variables,evaluation matrix. all associated with a food access/transport program, a food market could, on the basisSimilarly, the quantification of additional of a TCA approach, identify savings thatstore sales would require a type of longitu- could conceivably amount to several thou-dinal analysis that, unfortunately, has not sand dollars a year, representing a signifi-been undertaken to date, even by stores cant revenue offset.6committed to a van service program suchas those described in Section III. However, Ultimately, a more complete worksheet orseveral of the programs profiled here have evaluative method is needed for any privateassumed but not calculated increased sales, venture to assess whether a food access/in part due to the popularity of the program. transport program is completely or evenThrough anecdotal evidence and personal partially viable in terms of the presumptionobservation, store managers have stated of strict bottom line considerations. Beyondtheir opinion that there have been new store that type of calculus, the store’s communitycustomers and additional sales on the basis identity (which itself can represent an eco-of their use of the service. By analyzing more nomic value) is likely to be significantly en-specifically customer sales figures over time hanced through any food access program.while controlling for other variables aside For supermarkets, such considerations offrom the van service, the ability to quantify community (and thus customer service) willadditional revenues as a result of the pro- remain paramount as long as place matters.
    • Page 62 Homeward Bound JOINT VENTURES: out access to a vehicle. Retailoring parking A Public/Private Partnership lot sizes to meet community demographics combined with alternative transportationInner city locations present unique chal- programs, such as van services, can form thelenges and opportunities for the construc- cornerstone of a revised inner city supermar-tion of new supermarkets and associated ket transportation policy. In Los Angeles, formarket-based transportation services. In Los example, 24% of the households in the FoodAngeles, perhaps the most significant bar- Access Deficient Area (see Section 2 for morerier to building new stores in the inner city details) don’t have access to an auto, as com-is a lack of sites of adequate size. Develop- pared to only 7% in the comparably sizeders often must cobble together numerous suburban San Fernando Valley. Assumingparcels in an expensive and time-consuming that parking requirements are appropriateprocess. This land scarcity, however, pre- for the San Fernando Valley, such require-sents an opportunity ments may then befor supermarkets and excessive for innermunicipalities to re- While large parking lot re- city areas where avise their transporta- quirements may make sense high percentage oftion policies in accor- for communities with virtually customers aredance with the needs walk-ins or arrive by universal automobile owner-and resources of inner bus.city communities. ship and abundant land, they can be burdensome for inner Parking needs are af-Municipal planning city areas with scarce land, fected by a variety ofand supermarket poor food access, and high factors, including fre-transportation policies rates of households without ac- quency and durationhave largely revolved of shopping trips, cess to a vehicle.around an number of personsauto-centered ap- served by the store,proach to getting shoppers to and from and weekly and monthly shopping patterns.stores. This approach is best seen through While supermarkets serve more persons inthe large parking lots that legally must ac- the inner city - 29,505 in inner city areas incompany all supermarket developments. In Los Angeles, as compared to 16,629 for thethe City of Los Angeles, planning regula- average in Los Angeles County — targetedtions require supermarkets to provide at areas for inner city supermarket customersleast four parking spaces per thousand may be smaller, given the relatively high per-square feet of floor area. The parking lot for centage in those areas of elderly residents,a typical 40,000 square foot store occupies who often have limited mobility. Similarly,about 57% of the total lot size, while a typi- inner city consumers have been character-cal parking space itself is 333 square feet. ized as making frequent shopping trips, yet their trips may be of less duration given theWhile large parking lot requirements may few items purchased. Monthly shoppingmake sense for communities with virtually patterns also affect demand on parking. Al-universal automobile ownership and abun- though all markets have peak times such asdant land, they can be burdensome for in- weekends and evenings, purchases at innerner city areas with scarce land, poor food city supermarkets also entail monthly cycles,access, and high rates of households with- with the first few days of each month the
    • Homeward Bound Page 63busiest. good (i.e., a food access/transport program) is established simultaneously with a privateCommunity members and developers may benefit (i.e., reduced parking lot size). Suchpresent barriers to revising parking lot regu- a partnership would also in effect reorientlations. Businesses and residents want their the supermarket’s and city’s transportationneighboring supermarket to have adequate policy toward a more realistic assessment ofparking, in order to avoid overflow into their the needs and capacities of the surroundinglots and streets. Smaller supermarket park- community. As we have seen from multipleing lots could in some cases result in adverse examples across the country, this type ofeffects on surrounding residents and busi- approach is best achieved when it includesnesses, especially during peak shopping a measure of community ownership andperiods. Likewise, developers and super- engagement in the process.market chains also want large parking lots.They know from experience that adequate Community involvement in developing anand “easy” parking lures customers while appropriate transportation policy can bepacked lots can present a serious barrier for important for a number of reasons. First, itpotential customers, leading them to shop creates a mechanism by which the retailerelsewhere. can receive input on the specific circum- stances of the neighborhood, rather thanDecreasing parking lot requirements could assume a generic community with no dis-save supermarkets a substantial amount in tinguishing needs and resources. Commu-land acquisition, paving, landscaping, and nity organizations can educate developersmaintenance. With a 20% reduction, a 40,000 and chain executives about the issues asso-square foot store could reduce its parking ciated with parking lot size relative to alot size by 13,000 square feet. At a conserva- shuttle service for the transit dependent.tive price of eight dollars per square foot in They can also work with the surroundingthe inner city, a store could save a total of community to ameliorate parking overflow$85,200 in land costs alone, without count- problems at peak times if required.ing development costs.7 In exchange forgranting the parking waiver, the city could Community engagement can also prove fi-stipulate that these savings be used by the nancially beneficial to an inner city super-market to amortize a van service. An annu- market on the basis of other kinds of publicity of $10,300 per year for fifteen years (in- good/private benefit arrangements. Thevested at 8.5%) could conceivably be created partnership between New Communitiesto partially subsidize such a service. Supple- Corporation and Pathmark Supermarkets inmental funding could be calculated on the Newark led to a number of changes in thebasis of the kinds of revenue opportunities store’s format, including the grocery deliv-described above, such as reduced shopping ery service (see section 2), that enabled it tocart loss and retrieval fees, additional busi- be one of the most profitable stores in Newness generated, and user fees. Jersey. A sense of community ownership and control over the market also can help reduceThe concept of reducing parking require- costs associated with security and shrink, asments to help establish a food access/trans- well stimulate sales and customer loyalty.port program could be most effectively Community organizations can help organizeimplemented through a public/private part- and conduct outreach to maximize the usenership, or joint venture, where a public and successful operation of transportation
    • Page 64 Homeward Boundprojects. Joint ventures offer significant benefits to the community (and the CDC) as well as to theFinally, as the planning process in siting a supermarket. The roles of the partners aresupermarket can take years (and at times a complementary, with the CDC providing itsdecade), and be quite costly, the commu- community development expertise and un-nity plays a critical role in blocking or facili- derstanding of community needs, and thetating the store. Community ownership and supermarket lending industry expertise insupport can help speed up the process, sav- real estate and business operations.ing the supermarket thousands of dollars.It would also be essential to advocating for The community profits in numerous waysand obtaining a waiver in parking lot size from a joint venture project. Supermarketsrequirements. create jobs, provide employment training, meet community needs for goods and ser-The most common and well-developed fo- vices, and revitalize distressed neighbor-rum for community engagement in the su- hoods. Satellite shops can provide entrepre-permarket industry is through the vehicle neurial opportunities for local businesses.of a joint venture arrangement with a com- The CDC’s participation creates a sense ofmunity development corporation (CDC). community engagement and ownership,CDCs are private non-profit organizations encouraging community involvement. Also,involved in economic development projects the CDC’s share of the profits is reinvestedin a disadvantaged neighborhood, such as into their economic development projects.child care facilities, real estate development, In this way, local dollars are recycled backjob training, and affordable housing. into the community. 9Joint ventures vary in structure according The joint venture also offers many advan-to the needs and situation of the partnership tages to the supermarket partner. With ainterests, but generally fall into one of two CDC as partner, the project is likely to enjoycategories. In the first type, the CDC owns the support of community members, en-and develops the land, in partnership with hancing its potential for success. Commu-a commercial developer. This partnership nity input can help management to moreorganization acts as landlord, and leases the accurately fine-tune its product mix and ser-building to the supermarket. The supermar- vices, contributing to higher sales volume.ket has full responsibility for store manage- Shared ownership minimizes negative per-ment and operation, pays rent and some- ceptions of outsiders exploiting low incometimes a percentage of sales to the CDC. In residents by charging high prices for infe-addition, the lease may require the super- rior goods. In addition, CDCs can attractmarket to meet other conditions, such as grants and low-cost loans, reducing totalproviding job training programs, hiring project costs. 10 Aside from the Newarkfrom the surrounding community, or selling NCC/Pathmark arrangement, several jointcertain products. In the second form, the ventures related to supermarket locationCDC is actually a partner and co-owner of have been established or are in the processthe supermarket. The supermarket is in of formation. Two of the most prominentcharge of day to day operations, and receives advocates of food retail joint ventures area fee for this service. Profits are shared ac- the Local Initiatives Support Corporationcording to each partner’s investment pro- (LISC) and the Los Angeles-based RLA. Theportion in the project. 8 Ford Foundation-sponsored LISC organiza-
    • Homeward Bound Page 65tion had been a significant player in the low through community surveys that the desireincome housing development arena for a for greater food access, particularly accessnumber of years but came to the conclusion to supermarkets, was identified as the singlein the early 1990s that successful housing largest community need by residents of oneneeded to be associated with increased jobs large South Central area. Unlike LISC, how-and commercial activity in inner city areas. ever, RLA sought to identify opportunitiesFormally launching what it called The Re- for smaller scale markets, at the 20,000 totail Initiative (TRI) in 1994, LISC sought to 40,000 square foot size, which would requireestablish a framework for joint venture in- smaller investment and a more manageablener city commercial development, anchored joint venture type operation. 12by a local supermarket, similar to the New-ark example. LISC hoped that the infusion While approaching the issue with a differ-of capital made possible through its limited ent set of considerations and a range of vari-parternship investment model combined ables to address, both RLA and LISC havewith community participation through a nevertheless identified the joint venture ap-joint venture would prove attractive to both proach as the most effective method of se-supermarkets and communities. However, curing supermarket investment in the innerLISC found some of its proposed ventures city. While representing a breakthrough incontroversial, partly a reflection of the large identifying a new type of approach, whatsize of the markets proposed (60,000-80,000 remains to be addressed is the access issuesquare feet) and the issue of competition itself, namely how can the CDC/joint ven-between small stores and the incoming (and ture facilitate a program to increase access,subsidized) proposed food market.11 above and beyond the siting of the super- market into an inner city location where noRLA (formerly Rebuild Los Angeles) is the supermarket previously existed. By includ-organization established in the wake of the ing access in the negotiated arrangement, the1992 civil disorders, and was created in part joint venture approach extends the commu-to identify job creating, community eco- nity development framework into the arenanomic development opportunities in the of food and transportation planning as well.areas hardest hit by the riots. Originally con-ceived as an organization capable of “re-building” the community solely through Non-Profit Initiatives: Bringing the Farmerprivate sector initiatives, the issue of super- to the Consumer and the Consumer to themarket location (or relocation) figured Farmerprominently in RLA plans, influenced inpart by early supermarket chain pronounce- In 1994, the Southland Farmers’ Market As-ments of interest in relocating into the inner sociation (SFMA), a trade and lobbying or-city. However, the early ambitious targets of ganization representing 19 farmers’ marketsRLA quickly became casualties of the diffi- in the Los Angeles region, in partnershipculties, complexities, and lack of private sec- with the UCLA Community Food Securitytor support for inner city reinvestment. RLA Project, sought to explore the possibility ofsoon evolved into a research and service initiating and evaluating the developmenttype organization, seeking to identify oppor- of a Community Supported Agriculturetunities for specific investment and public/ (CSA) type arrangement through theprivate type ventures, including for super- Gardena Farmers’ Market in southwest Losmarket development. It demonstrated Angeles. CSAs, as they have been developed
    • Page 66 Homeward Boundin recent years, typically establish a contrac- Islander. A substantial majority of the cen-tual relationship between a single grower sus tracts radiating for approximately threeand a group of urban residents or “share- miles from Van Ness Avenue and Elholders” who agree to purchase on an an- Segundo Avenue, the site of the Gardenanual basis some or all of the crops produced Farmers’ Market, have a median incomeby that grower. CSAs have generally tended below the county average, including thoseto be characterized for their emphasis on a in Gardena itself, although several censuskind of “lifestyle choice” for middle class tract areas are higher income areas. Bus ser-consumers rather than for the range of food vice for intra-neighborhood needs insecurity benefits, particularly for low income Gardena is limited, with the closest bus lineresidents, that can flow from grower-to-con- to the Van Ness and El Segundo intersec-sumer relationships. A few CSAs, such as tion stopping more than a half a mile away.14Twinhawks Hollow Farm in Wisconsin,have linked their program with low income The Gardena Farmers’ Market, establishedparticipants by accepting food stamps as a in 1979, is one of the oldest established mar-form of payment, utilizing a subsidized kets in the Los Angeles region. Many of theprice in their payment schedule, and estab- growers participating in the market havelishing other innovative relationships.13 But been involved from its origins, and derive aemphasizing the long term commitment of modest, though still significant share of theirshareholders (e.g. payments on an annual revenue stream from market sales. How-basis) as a way to insulate the grower from ever, sales in recent years have been rela-the dictates of the food economy makes the tively flat, and the Farmers’ Market has notparticipation of low income urban residents been able to expand its customer base, par-difficult. Most importantly, from the per- ticularly in several of the surrounding lowspective of this study, CSAs have not em- and middle income communities.15 This hasphasized issues of location and access from occurred despite the possibility of substan-the urban side of the arrangement, thereby tial interest in the program, given the smalllimiting the community or neighborhood number of full service food markets (andappeal of such a program. sources of fresh produce) in those areas. Ex- pansion, however, has been limited in partGiven the difficulties of low income resi- by the lack of any transportation-related pro-dents participating in farmers’ markets or gram such as a van service that could bothCSAs, the UCLA/Southland Farmers’ Mar- improve access and heighten awareness ofket Association team sought to establish a the market itself, which has remained lim-pilot program that would utilize features of ited despite its lengthy history. 16both CSAs and farmers’ markets, with ac-cess a major component of the program, in Responding to the growers’ need to expandan effort to attract both low and middle in- sales and the desire to attract a constituencycome participation. It was decided that such whose participation might otherwise be lim-a project would be located in the Gardena ited due to access problems, the SFMAarea bordering Southwest and South Cen- sought to explore a CSA model that could,tral Los Angeles. This area is highly diverse, at the same time, be associated with theboth in terms of its income and ethnicity farmers’ market operation itself. With sup-characteristics. City of Gardena residents are port from the USDA’s Sustainable Agricul-approximately 23% African-American, 23% ture Research and Education Program andLatino, 23% Anglo, and 33% Asian/Pacific the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
    • Homeward Bound Page 67the UCLA/Southland team designed a Mar- than the baseline figure, but still competi-ket Basket Subscription Program to serve as tive with supermarket prices).17a possible model for this and other regions. A core Market Basket Program goal was toThe Gardena Market Basket Program was utilize the resources of the community inlaunched in October 1995, with the follow- order to build sustainability, with outreaching features: to community organizations and constitu- ency groups essential to the process of in-• Step 1: Several of the growers who sell creasing community ownership of the at the Gardena Farmers’ Market agree to project. For example, one successful link to sell some of their harvest through the the program was the partnership established Market Basket Program, at a price that with Crystal Stairs, an organization which is 15% below farmers’ market prices. serves over 2,600 family child care provid- ers in Southern California. Among• Step 2: Each week, the grow- other activities, Crystal Stairs ers and the Market Basket administers a program that coordinator decide, A core Market Bas- establishes dietary/nutri- based on crop quality, tional requirements for ket Program goal quantity, and the need child care providers to for diversity in the was to utilize the qualify for income sup- basket, which type of resources of the port for purchasing food produce each grower community in or- for meals. By identifying a will sell through the der to build subscription to the Market program. By combining sustainability Basket program as qualifica- the harvests of several tion, Crystal Stairs established farmers, the Market Basket is a strong incentive for provider able to offer a variety of locally participation.18 In this way, contin- grown, seasonal produce. ued outreach can be conducted through community institutions like Crystal Stairs,• Step 3: The produce, purchased in bulk, as well as schools, churches, social service is then assembled into “shares” and then agencies, and emergency food providers, distributed at drop-off points where they among others, while seeking to reduce the are picked up by participant subscribers. need for a continual Market Basket “sub- These drop off points, located in differ- scription drive.” This institutional link also ent areas of the city, are designed to re- aids in the process of identifying both those duce the distance subscribers have to in need and those who can pay more. It also travel. helps to identify specific barriers, such as access/transit dependencies, that limit par-The baseline price for a basket of produce ticipation.($10) provides a cost savings over farmers’market prices. Subscribers pay up to a week In the first seventeen weeks after the pro-in advance, with food stamps accepted as a gram was launched, 69 individual subscrib-form of payment. There are three share ers purchased a total of 219 baskets, includ-prices established: the baseline price, a sub- ing 39 baskets at the subsidized price. (Seesidized price (30% below the baseline price) Figure 1) A far greater number of potentialand a subsidizing price (at a cost 30% greater subscribers (more than 175) made inquiries
    • Page 68 Homeward Boundabout the program from articles that were UCLA researchers have been seeking topublished in the Los Angeles Times and South evaluate the community food security, foodBay Daily Breeze. Many of these respondents, access, and environmental benefits of thehowever, indicated an inability or unwill- Market Basket program. These benefits po-ingness to participate for a variety of factors. tentially include: a) enhancing the viabilityOf those factors, problems of access or trans- of local growers and evaluating whetherportation figured most prominently (27% of their participation in this type of direct mar-those surveyed cited access-related reasons keting program influences their growingfor non-participation). A similar concern practices, such as pesticide use; b) expand-about transportation needs was also ex- ing the availability of high quality, fresh frompressed by the nearly two dozen churches the farm, affordable produce for low andand community organizations who have middle income city residents, many ofindicated an interest and/or participated in whom lack access to any kind of fresh pro-the program. Despite the intent of the pro- duce (with the project in turn seeking togram to provide greater access by the de- determine reasons for participation or un-velopment of “drop off points” that would willingness or inability to participate); andshorten distances for participants, a num- c) evaluating the applicability of the pro-ber of potential shareholders, such as senior gram to other locations in California. Hav-citizens, disabled, shut-ins, or those without ing identified, through this evaluation, thatcars, have remained unable to participate in transportation and access-related needs rep-a program that seeks to offer significant com- resent a central, crucial factor for themunity food security benefits not otherwise program’s success, the Market Basket projectobtainable. Thus, transportation and access is currently exploring methods of address-needs have emerged as the single largest ing those needs. One area of research thatneed for the stabilization and future expan- has been identified involves assessing thesion of the program.19 feasibility of a delivery/transportation pro- gram as an additional component of the Figure 1: Market Basket program. A Food Delivery and Transport Service In evaluating various food transport pro- grams, some of which were described in Section III, one major consideration regard- ing such programs has been the existence of substantial “down time” when the use of the vehicle involved (most often a van) is not in operation and many of the program costs are not able to be recouped. A more cost-ef- fective program would clearly require con- tinuous use of the vehicle, most likely in conjunction with other programs. In terms of the Market Basket program, those wish- ing to shop at farmers’ markets but who have transportation problems represent one
    • Homeward Bound Page 69additional and logical use of such a trans- participants, particularly if central deliveryportation service. By linking access to farm- and/or transit stops were included (e.g.,ers’ markets to a transportation strategy for senior citizen homes or centers, child carethe Market Basket program, that is, by com- centers or providers, large housing projectsbining a Market Basket “delivery service” or commercial centers, etc.).with a farmers’ market “van service” pro-gram transporting farmers’ market shoppers Such a transport/food access system couldto their homes, the “down time” problem further establish key environmental benefitscould potentially be eliminated. There are (as well as identify important sources of sup-individual farmers’ markets that operate port for start-up costs) by utilizing an ultraevery day of the week in the Los Angeles low emissions vehicle, similar to the Boul-Region; thus a van service could operate up der, Colorado HOP program. Though someto seven full days a week. (See Figure 2) alternative fuel vehicles are still in the dem- onstration stage, others are now available for Figure 2: use. A ULEV for a food access/transport program would be attractive for several rea-Monday West Hollywood sons:Tuesday Culver City • Alternative fuel vehicles have been mar- keted for certain niche uses, such as fleetWednesday Santa Monica; San Dimas services, or for the environmentally- Adams/Vermont aware consumer, most often identified as the middle or upper income car ownerThursday Redondo Beach who is interested in an additional, more Westwood environmentally benign vehicle for lim- ited uses. By linking a ULEV to a pro-Friday Venice; Monrovia gram that significantly addresses the needs of low income residents, such aSaturday Gardena; Santa Monica Pico connection establishes a new and broader constituency for ULEV use. PartSunday Encino of the purpose of the project would be to make such links explicit to demonstrate their feasibility.Such a delivery/transport service wouldoperate most efficiently if deliveries and • ULEVs provide the most substantial pol-transport were limited to the immediate lutant reduction potential (in compari-communities surrounding the farmers’ mar- son to gasoline-powered vehicles) whenket and/or Market Basket assembly point. used for travel characterized by shortThis can be accomplished by establishing a distance, non-freeway driving with mul-three to four mile radius from the delivery/ tiple stops at reduced speeds. ULEVtransport point, which has been the demar- buses in center city areas offer one suchcation point for outreach and participation opportunity; a food transport/deliveryin the Gardena Market Basket program. service could provide another importantThus the van would make frequent stops at example.short distances on each of the days it oper-ated, maximizing the potential number of • While the program under consideration
    • Page 70 Homeward Bound is designed for specific uses (delivery potential critical intermediary in facilitating service for the Market Basket; transpor- and addressing those policy considerations tation service for farmers’ markets), it has (e.g., arranging for permit exemptions on the significant potential applicability for a basis of a non-profit operation). To accom- wide range of food service needs (e.g., plish the goal of food access in this and the van service for farmers’ markets or su- earlier approaches described in this Section permarkets; meals-on-wheels, etc.) and remains, ultimately, a policy and planning for overall paratransit programs for tar- as well as constituency and organizational geted constituencies (e.g., van services matter. for senior citizen centers).In sum, this model food access programcould entail developing a delivery and trans-port service, potentially utilizing an ultralow emissions vehicle for market basket sub-scription programs in Gardena and farmers’markets throughout a region where suchmarkets are concentrated, such as the LosAngeles region. Through such a transporta-tion service, direct marketing opportunitiescan be expanded (e.g., by establishing addi-tional Market Basket sites and increasingfarmers’ market participation), made fea-sible in part by expanding the transit-depen-dent constituent base for such a programthrough an already existing transport/de-livery service. The key to such a service isthe enlargement of functions and constitu-encies which have the potential of reducingthe cost per service provided (by maximiz-ing vehicle use) while significantly expand-ing food access opportunities.The Market Basket delivery and transportservice concept is also instructive in termsof identifying the central role of the non-profit organization (in this case, theSouthland Farmers’ Market Association/UCLA team) in stimulating food access ap-proaches. To facilitate those approaches,policy considerations also need to be ad-dressed; for example, how to offset the po-tential permitting, insurance, and liabilitycosts associated with such a venture. In LosAngeles, the development of the Food Se-curity and Hunger Partnership represents a
    • Homeward Bound Page 71 ENDNOTES: SECTION IV1. “Council OKs Funds for New Food 6. One estimate from a Los Angeles-basedAgency”, Jodi Wilgoren, Los Angeles Times, supermarket executive placed aggregate in-June 19, 1996; “Committee Transmittal: ner city store cart losses at $67,000/year.Community Development Department Rec- Seeds of Change, p. 133ommendations for the Voluntary AdvisoryCouncil on Hunger Proposed Policy”, 7. Development costs, such as demolition,Memorandum from Mayor Richard Riordan paving, and grading costs are estimated atto the Los Angeles City Council, January 25, $5/square foot. Land costs are estimated at1996. $8 per sq. ft. Interview with Lisa Padilla, Associate, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partner-2 . “For Hunger, More than a Handout”, ship, May 1996.Robert Gottlieb, Carolyn Olney, ElizabethRiley, Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1994; 8. See Food Marketing Alternatives for theHunger and Food Insecurity in Los Ange- Inner City, Community Nutrition Institute,les: Findings of the Volunteer Advisory The Consumer Division, Washington D.C.:Council on Hunger, Final Report, April 1996, CNI, 1982, pp. 12-37; Seeds of Change, p. 248Los Angeles: Voluntary Advisory Council onHunger, City of Los Angeles; See also Letter 9. See Jane Buckwalter, “Securing Shoppingfrom Richard Riordan, Mayor, City of Los Centers for Inner Cities”, in Urban Land,Angeles, to Robert Farrell, Chair, Voluntary Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute,Advisory Council on Hunger, January 25, 1987, p. 23; James J. O’Connor and Barbara1996. “Council OKs Funds for New Food Abell, Successful Supermarkets in Low-In-Agency”, Jodi Wilgoren, Los Angeles Times, come Inner Cities, Arlington, VA: O’Connor-June 19, 1996. Abell Inc., August 19923. One of the authors of this paper (Robert 10. Seeds of Change, p. 249Gottlieb) is a member of the nine memberVACH; the other (Andrew Fisher) is an al- 11. Interviews with Denise Fairchild, Janu-ternate member as well as consultant. ary 1995, Ralph Lippman, October 1995; The Retail Initiative: Models for Success, Local4. See the Mission Statement, in the Minutes Initiatives Support Corporation, New York:of the Los Angeles Community Food Secu- LISC, September 1995; “City Sites”, Progres-rity Network, June 14, 1996. sive Grocer, November 1994, p. 125. Deborah Savage and Allen White, “New 12. Interviews with Linda Wong, RLA, Sep-Applications of Total Cost Assessment”, Pol- tember 1995, Virginia Oaxaca, May 1995;lution Prevention Review, Winter 1994-1995, Rebuild LA (RLA): Progress Report, Lospp. 7-14; Stephan Schmidheny and Federico Angeles: RLA, March 9, 1995; CommunityJ.L. Zorraquin, with the World Business Retail Needs Assessment: A Market Re-Council for Sustainable Development, Fi- search Report, Prepared for RLA bynancing Change: The Financial Community, ConsumerQuest, Los Angeles, May 3, 1995.Eco-Efficiency, and Sustainable Develop-ment, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996, pp. 137- 13. Interview with Sandy Eldridge,148 Twinhawks Hollow Farm, by Michelle
    • Page 72 Homeward BoundMascarenhas, May 10, 199514. For a description of the background tothe Market Basket project, see New Environ-mental Links: An Ultra Low Emissions Ve-hicle Food Delivery and Transport ServiceConnecting Farmers and Low-Income Com-munities, Prepared for U.S. EPA Region IXby the UCLA Pollution Prevention Educa-tion and Research Center, April 1996.15. Interview with Mark Wall, SouthlandFarmers’ Market Association, January 1995.16. “Survey of Gardena Farmers’ MarketGrowers”, March 18, 1995. Revenues gener-ated from sales through direct marketing atfarmers’ markets accounted from less than10% to 100% of the total revenue stream ofthe farmers surveyed. A similar survey con-ducted at six farmers’ markets in April andMay 1993 for the Seeds of Change studyfound equivalent numbers, with farmermarket sales averaging approximately 50%of grower revenues. Sales at the GardenaMarket have also varied over time, accord-ing to the grower’s survey, but have prima-rily remained flat.17. New Environmental Links, p. 418. Interview with Karen Caldwell, CrystalStairs, February 1996.19. New Environmental Links, p.5
    • Homeward Bound Page 73 SECTION V: FRAMING FOOD ACCESS: Policy and Planning Recommendations
    • Page 74 Homeward BoundT his report has evaluated the intersec to develop such language for a reauthorized tion of transportation and food access ISTEA. issues. While specific programs andinitiatives have been established, primarilyat the community or facility level, there has • USDA’s Food and Consumer Servicesbeen a notable absence of any directed plan- and Department of Transportationning or policy framework for food access for should create an interagency task forcethe transit dependent, either through gov- on transportation as related to food ac-ernment agencies or by the private food re- cess.tail sector. This lack of planning and policydevelopment represents the most substan- This task force could break ground for atial barrier in the development and imple- more integrated policy approach on thesementation of a food access approach. Thus, issues. It could conduct research into foodthe recommendations that follow are prima- access and transportation on a national level,rily directed at planners and policymakers, identifying arenas for collaboration betweenalthough much of the creative activity to the two agencies, as well as administrativedate in the food access arena has been stimu- action that could be taken to improve foodlated by constituent groups seeking to ad- access. The task force could also assist in thedress a visible and often transparent food development and funding of food accesssecurity need. related transportation demonstration projects in targeted communities. RECOMMENDATIONS • The USDA Farmers’ Market Task ForceFederal Policy: should provide funding for demonstra- tion programs that improve access to• Reauthorization of the Intermodal Sur- farmers’ markets in transit dependent face Transportation Efficiency Act and/or food access deficient communi- (ISTEA) should incorporate language to ties. specifically encourage funding of food access-related programs by metropoli- Farmers’ markets represent an important tan transportation organizations. access point to high quality affordable pro- duce in communities where such access isISTEA provides a major source of funding often lacking. As with supermarkets, accessfor innovative transit programs. Two of the to farmers’ markets in transit dependentobvious advocates for such an approach are communities can be problematic. The recentthe Surface Transportation Policy Project, a formation of a Farmers’ Market Task Forcecoalition of organizations working on trans- within USDA with a mission that includesportation and urban planning issues and a direct marketing to low income communi-primary advocate of ISTEA, and the Com- ties presents an opportunity to develop in-munity Food Security Coalition, a national novative programs to help link communi-network of food security organizations that ties with these valuable food resources.helped secure passage of the CommunityFood Security Act. The development of analliance between these natural allies and oth-ers could begin the political process needed
    • Homeward Bound Page 75Regional Policy:Metropolitan Transportation Organizations • In Los Angeles, reallocations of transit(MTO) should take an active role in improv- funds from rail to buses, if and whening food access-related transportation. This such a process were to occur, shouldshould include: include funds set aside for food access- related services.• Conducting needs assessments in tran- sit dependent neighborhoods to deter- In particular, the lawsuit described in Sec- mine transportation related food access tion II that has been brought against the deficiencies (in conjunction with mu- Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) un- nicipal food policy organizations, der the 1994 Civil Rights Act seeks a redis- where such organizations exist); tribution of funding from rail to bus services. If successful, any settlement agreement orMTOs operate much of the mass transit in judicial directive could specify that part ofthe country. Their attention to the food shop- that funding be earmarked towards estab-ping needs of transit dependent communi- lishing food access related transportationties is vital to addressing existing food ac- programs.cess deficiencies. As a first step, MTOsshould identify those communities where • Local planning agencies should con-supermarkets are inadequate and food ac- sider reducing parking lot size for newcess is hindered by a lack of appropriately supermarkets constructed in transit de-structured transportation services. In com- pendent communities, with the provisomunities where food policy organizations that the supermarket be required toexist, such as Toronto, Hartford, Knoxville, support a food access transportationLos Angeles, St Paul, and Austin, these or- program for transit dependent consum-ganizations can assist the MTO in identify- ers, made feasible in part by utilizinging food access deficient neighborhoods, cost savings from the reduced land re-and structuring any needs assessment pro- quirements.cess. Municipal planning regulations for super- market parking lots are designed for middle• Formulate services specific to the needs income communities, many of which have of each community, including the cre- 95% or higher per capita automobile own- ation and expansion of circulator routes ership. Such regulations in turn can inhibit such as Los Angeles’s DASH program the construction of sorely needed new su- and Austin’s Grocery Bus; permarkets in low income neighborhoods where per capita auto ownership figures areBeyond the research and evaluation process, significantly lower. Reducing lot size in ac-MTOs should develop and implement spe- cordance with the vehicle ownership ratescific services which improve food access. of the surrounding neighborhood wouldThese services should be tailored to the enable supermarkets to be located onneeds of each community. The kinds ap- smaller parcels, as well as fund servicesproaches that could involve services pro- which better serve the transportation needsvided by MTOs (e.g., community paratransit of the customer base.services) have been identified in Section III.
    • Page 76 Homeward Bound• Local planning agencies should require plans and programs be incorporated in that new supermarkets develop a spe- all of its supermarkets developed cific transportation plan tailored to through The Retail Initiative (TRI), as meet the transportation needs of the part of its financing process. surrounding community as part of the permitting process. The Local Initiative Support Corporation (described in Section IV) enjoys a uniqueThe absence of a food access transportation opportunity to greatly strengthen transpor-policy has not been limited to the public sec- tation planning and programming as a vitaltor. Most supermarkets have not formally component of inner city supermarketsarticulated a transportation policy. Instead, through its financing of multiple supermar-such actions as the construction of large kets across the nation. It should direct CDCsparking lots and the cycle of removal-re- applying for TRI equity to develop transpor-trieval of shopping carts has comprised such tation plans appropriate to the needs of thea de facto policy. The creation of an explicit store’s customer base.transportation policy would force new storesto address the characteristics and needs ofthe communities in which they locate, rather • Communities should develop foodthan adopt a “cookie cutter” or “hands-off” planning/policy organizations thatapproach to the ways in which shoppers could facilitate food access, and, moretransport their goods home. broadly, food security approaches. The development of the Food Policy Coun-Private Policy: cil model, such as the Los Angeles Food Se- curity and Hunger Partnership, represents• Supermarkets located in transit depen- a crucial opportunity to help identify and dent communities should voluntarily implement a range of policy and planning develop transportation plans and pro- food access and food security initiatives. grams tailored to meet the needs of the Such initiatives (which, absent a Food Policy store’s customer base. Council, might not otherwise be under- taken) could be constructed at the neighbor-Many supermarkets have recognized that hood, community, or regional scale.store-based transportation programs can beexcellent community relations, if not profit- These recommendations constitute whatable operations when accounting for in- amounts to a preliminary assessment andcreased sales and reduced costs associated development process in reconstituting andwith shopping cart removal. Supermarkets ultimately integrating food access and trans-operated as a joint venture between a chain portation planning. Given the growing con-and a community development corporation cerns and political interest in the subject,(CDC) are best positioned to take the lead these recommendations can be consideredin this arena, given the community relation- a modest beginning for a new type of policyships that are embedded in the structure. and planning process. Without such an ini- tiative, the ability to address food access for the transit dependent remains uncertain at• The Local Initiative Support Corpora- best. In the long run, without a proactive tion should require that transportation approach, lack of food access is likely to re-
    • Homeward Bound Page 77main a problem area deeply entrenched inthe realities of food insecurity that will existfor significant numbers of communities andfor their resident populations.