In 2018 the Commonwealth of Virginia’s General Assembly considered, but did not pass, legislation to combat food deserts via the creation of the Virginia Grocery Investment Program and Fund. The Fund introduced a $3.75 million per year appropriation intended to leverage public-private partnerships to support construction, rehabilitation, upgrading or expansion of grocery stores or other food retailers in underserved communities.
African Americans disproportionately face low access to healthy food. This research utilizes data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Access Research Atlas and demographic data on race/ethnicity from the U.S. Census Bureau to examine the racial/ethnic make-up of low healthy food access populations in Virginia and the potential racial equity impact of the Fund.
The findings show that using a low access/low income definition of underserved, compared to the proposed low access-only definition in the legislation, would target the Fund’s impact more in urban areas that are more diverse in general and more heavily African American.
Rissler, Grant E.; Dunn, Tracey; Anthony, Taryn; Miller-Pitts, Stephen; and Williams-Lewis, Barbara
"Assessing the Racial Equity Impact of Legislation to Establish a Virginia Grocery Investment Program and Fund,"
Journal of Public Management & Social Policy: Vol. 27:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalscholarship.tsu.edu/jpmsp/vol27/iss1/4