This week we made more headway on our development database, filling in info that we got from the San Francisco Property Information Map on the specific development sites. Now that we have solid, physical details for most of the developments, we are laying the groundwork to create a map. With this map, we hope to show the developments in relation to each other as well as possibilities for various community serving retail within those developments.
What We Observed and Learned
This week we’ve been more active in collecting literature articles and sources to begin analyzing how other communities around the United States have enacted health retail initiatives and whether or not their successes are appropriate to the Tenderloin area. Hopefully past examples can allow us to build a better plan.
One of the literary pieces focused on the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative. It was a statewide program that hoped to bring supermarkets to urban and rural communities that were underserved with respect to food needs. The goals listed for the program align very well with the objectives set out for the Tenderloin project. These goals included reducing diseases related to consumption of unhealthy foods, promoting financial investments in lower-wealth communities, granting even access to healthy foods, and creating local job opportunities. The unique aspect about this program was that it was the United States’ first statewide program which hoped to produce supermarket development. The fact that it was statewide also means that funding for this program was readily available. Therefore, it might be out of scope for the Tenderloin project. However, it’s important to examine how funding (which was mainly from the government and then matching donations from private companies) was used to establish supermarket growth. The grants considered eligible uses as “early costs associated with project feasibility including professional fees, market studies, etc, land assembly and capital for relocation...soft costs..and construction for general conditions”.
One example of a successful fresh food market is the Boyer’s family markets. The funds were used to purchase energy-efficient equipment for the markets, support employee training, and improve furniture. Therefore, an important part of this program wasn’t the fact that money was spent to create more stores but support local ones and give access to healthier food options. The corner stores that are existing in the Philadelphia region weren’t originally able to provide fresh product due to limited space and infrastructure. The funds helped over 29 stores expand space and carry fresh produce which might be an interesting goal for the Tenderloin project--targeting local grocery and corner stores.
Another source examined the Renaissance Community Co-op. The RCC’s mission statement is to “create a democratically owned and controlled grocery store in Northeast Greensboro that provides all of Greensboro with healthy foods at affordable prices and has a commitment to locally sources foods, community education, and dignified jobs.” The interesting part of this source was that the community members were the one to recognize a problem adn initiate a change. In the summer of 2012, community members and staff from the Fund for Democratic Communities asked for a community-owned grocery store. This group formed into the RCC and began the process such as education themselves about the responsibilities and pathway to creating a grocery store. This is important to examine further because the community now has a cooperative business which is another possible route the Tenderloin area could take instead of having a large supermarket just settle in. This would unite the community and allow for widespread ownership and responsiblity.
Critical Analysis / Moving Forward
We are excited to make our way back to the Tenderloin next week to delve into a little more on-the-ground field work in the community. We will be figuring out what other information we need about specific new developments in addition to what we have in our information database that we can collect while we are there. Additionally, we’ll stop in to different retail stores in the neighborhood and speak with retailers and residents about ways in which retail is working well in the neighborhood as well as areas they feel could be improved.