What is food insecurity? A national study published in 2012 by The Reinvestment Fund, in collaboration with the Opportunity Finance Network and with support from the US Treasury CDFI Fund’s Capacity
Building Initiative, entitled “Searching for Markets: The Geography of Inequitable Access to Healthy & Affordable Food in the United States” 12 reported that Hartford ranks 8th from the bottom among cities of between 100,000 and 250,000 in terms of ready access to full service grocery stores. In the report’s terminology, Hartford is an “LSA” (Limited Supermarket Access) area, which means “one where the residents must travel significantly farther to reach a supermarket than the “comparatively acceptable” distance traveled by residents in well-served
areas. TRF defines “comparatively acceptable” as the distance that residents of well-served areas (block group with incomes greater than 120% of the area’s median income) travel to the nearest supermarket.” From the perspective of the report’s authors, this is significant because
“when we look at availability (consistency in access), variety (diversity of products) and price, supermarkets consistently have shown in various research studies to be the most reliable source of access to healthy foods.”
Read the entire report here.
Who is working on this problem? Founded in 1978, Hartford Food System is dedicated to finding long-term solutions for access to affordable and healthy food in the city of Hartford. Our mission is to fight hunger and improve nutrition in our community. Our goal is a healthy, culturally-responsive, just, resilient and sustainable food system that meets the needs of all community members. To help make this happen, we implement programs that improve access to nutritious and affordable food, we help consumers make informed food choices, we advocate for a robust and economically sound food system, and we promote responsible food policies at all levels of government. Hartford Food System aims to link the well-being of urban communities with sustainable agriculture, a more equitable food economy, and food justice. Recognizing the complexity of the issues, HFS promotes lasting solutions which require a system-based approach through non-emergency and sustainable strategies. We believe that long-term solutions to Hartford’s food problems can only be found by addressing the root causes of hunger and poor nutrition. We do our work in partnership with public agencies, farmers, producers, people experiencing food insecurity, other nonprofit organizations, business leaders in the local food economy, and many volunteers. Our activities are based in the following strategies: