Food Equity Bright Spot: Indianapolis, Indiana

According to PHA’s Food Equity Opportunity Map, more than 75% of census tracts in Indianapolis — or more than 200,000 people — are in need of more equitable food access. Indianapolis residents face many challenges to accessing good food, including affordability, accessibility and transportation, among others.

That’s why, in 2014, the city of Indianapolis founded the Indianapolis Community Food Access Coalition to “improve access to healthy, local food across all ages and demographics. To expand the market for local food, both supply and demand. And to increase access to community-based programming to improve healthy eating habits.”

From the Food Equity Opportunity map: The purple areas of this map represent areas of opportunity within Marion County, Indiana.

From the Food Equity Opportunity map: The purple areas of this map represent areas of opportunity within Marion County, Indiana.

That’s also why PHA has been working hand-in-hand with local partners like the Indianapolis Community Food Access Coalition and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to bring more fresh vegetables and fruits to underserved communities within the city. Since 2021, PHA has provided more than 1.3 million servings of fruits and vegetables to more than 2,200 families in Indianapolis through our Good Food for All program. This program delivers a box of produce to families for 12 straight weeks, and has been proven to increase consumption of produce over time.

Good Food for All program impact stats

While providing fresh produce to families is important, it’s also critical to create sustainable, long-term, affordable access to healthy food. That’s why we officially partnered with the Food Access Coalition, Instacart and local Safeway independent grocery stores to create a bridge between a free produce box and an incentive program that gives families $50 a month for three months to use in a retail grocery store or online with Instacart. This not only empowers people to choose what they’d like to eat, but also removes key barriers to eating healthy at home: transportation and convenience. We hope that this pilot program can be used as a model for improving sustainable and equitable access to food and replicated in programs across the country.

Alongside this work, PHA has also partnered with the City of Indianapolis and the International Fresh Produce Association to double consumption of fruits and vegetables in the city by 2030. This work includes stakeholders from across municipal government, grocery stores, parks and recreation programs, local nonprofits and others. We are seeking to create a playbook that can be shared with other cities across the country to increase produce consumption.

At PHA, our mission is to improve affordable access to healthy food for all Americans, but it will take a city-by-city approach to our food system to make that happen. Our Food Equity Opportunity Map is just one way to highlight where our work is most needed. We are proud to be working in Indianapolis, and other cities around the country to improve access to good food.

Our work on this map, and Food Equity is just beginning. We hope you’ll take some time to explore the Food Equity Opportunity Map, and to see what it looks like in your neighborhood.

Partnership for a Healthier America has launched its Food Equity Opportunity Map, highlighting where improving access to good food would make the greatest impact and allowing everyone to see what Food Equity looks like in their community for the first time. This blog is part of an ongoing effort to highlight bright spots around the country where PHA is working to increase equitable access to good food.

Vegetables and Fruits at a store

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