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Policy Efforts to Watch: Tennessee Grocery Access Task Force

The Tennessee Grocery Access Task Force, convened by the Tennessee Grocery and Convenience Association (TGCA), the American Heart Association (AHA), and The Food Trust, met over the course of a year to develop policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved communities across the state.

Changes to SNAP Distribution Schedules

In addition to the task force efforts, cooperative efforts between key stakeholders in Tennessee have led to the overhaul of the state’s SNAP distribution schedule. In late October 2012, the state’s SNAP distribution schedule was extended from a 10-day cycle to a 20-day cycle, thereby improving the effectiveness of the program. This new distribution schedule for SNAP benefits in Tennessee helps ensure that fresh foods are available throughout the month and that grocery stores can properly serve consumers in areas of high food-stamp volume. This change will also benefit grocers, wholesalers, and suppliers tied to Tennessee’s local food system. This improvement to the distribution schedule is a good indication of the State of Tennessee’s commitment to implementing changes to improve access to healthy foods in local communities.

 

Mid South Healthy Food Initiative 
 
Administered by Hope Enterprise Corporation in partnership with The Food Trust, the Mid South Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a regional healthy food financing program that offers flexible financing for new store development and renovations, as well as training with retailers to promote healthier choices projects across three states in the Mid South region. The initiative started in New Orleans but has grown to support grocery projects in urban areas across Mississippi, Louisiana and the greater Memphis area. The program was developed through the support of a $3 million initial seed from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which was leveraged further by other funding including the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative. For more information about the program, visit the program website here.
 

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