State & Local Policy Efforts

Policy Efforts to Watch: Alabama Healthy Food Financing Act

With strong bipartisan support, Governor Robert Bentley signed the Alabama Healthy Food Financing Act into law on June 30, 2015. The legislation created the structure for a statewide revolving loan fund program, administered in partnership with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), to provide incentives to develop, renovate or expand grocery stores in communities with limited access to fresh, healthy food. Advocates are actively working to secure funding for this new initiative. In 2016, legislation was passed to create the Healthy Food Financing Initiative Study Commission (SJR 105). That commission will analyze national best practices and build a pipeline of potential projects.   

  • Read Alabama Lieutenant Governor Ivey’s strong letter of support for the Healthy Food Financing Act, before it was signed into law.
  • Read a report issued following the Alabama Grocery Summit in November 2014, Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Alabama.
  • More updates and information about the Alabama Healthy Food Access Campaign can be accessed here.
  • For a summary of Alabama’s public opinion on healthy food access initiatives polling results, click here.

Background and Advocacy

In November 2014, VOICES for Alabama’s Children and the Alabama Grocers Association joined forces to convene the first Alabama Grocery Summit. Fifty state and community leaders in the fight against childhood obesity were brought together to understand the challenges that local grocers face and to discuss a variety of tools that state and local governments could use to address the urgent issue through expanding grocery store investments in underserved communities around the state.

Following the meeting, The Food Trust worked with VOICES for Alabama’s Children on a report, Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Alabama, which found that 1.8 million Alabamians, including nearly half a million children, live in areas with limited access to healthy food.

VOICES for Alabama’s Children, The Food Trust, American Heart Association, the Alabama Grocer’s Association and other partners continue to advocate for funding of the Alabama Healthy Food Financing Act and remain committed to bringing healthy food closer to home for everyone in Alabama.

For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.

To find examples of other federal, state, and local policy efforts and initiatives -- as well as financing opportunities -- by going to Find Money & Policy Efforts by State.