Healthy Food Financing Program is a Reality for Alabama
Innovative Public‐Private Partnership brings better access to healthy food in communities across the state
An innovative public‐private partnership is officially
up and running in Alabama paving the way to bring fresh food retailers to underserved areas across the state. The Healthy Food Financing Program is administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) which will disperse $300,000 in up to $50,000 increments through a statewide application process. The application is now live at www.adeca.alabama.gov and food retailers, including grocers, farmer’s markets, wholesale markets and other fresh food vendors are invited to apply. The deadline for application submissions is December 20, 2017.
At the urging of a broad‐based coalition of business, not‐for‐profit, and community advocates, a statewide revolving loan program has been established to allow for the expansion or renovation of fresh food retailers in Alabama communities with limited access to healthy food. According to a 2014 report, over 1.8 million Alabama residents ‐‐ including nearly half a million children ‐‐ live in communities with little to no access to fresh, healthy food. This lack of access has, in part, led Alabama to have one of the highest rates of diabetes in adults. Addressing this health crisis is a priority for VOICES for Alabama’s Children which is why they partnered with the Alabama Grocers Association, the Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, and several other leading voices to make the initiative a reality in our state.
“Far too many families live in places across our state where fresh food is hard to come by, but change is here. As a result of a strong, multi‐sector coalition coming together, we are seeing a policy shift in focus to improving people’s health by expanding access to fresh food,” said Melanie R. Bridgeforth, MSW, executive director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children. “Alabama is fortunate to have strong legislative champions, Senators Greg Reed (R‐Jasper) and Bobby Singleton (D‐Greensboro) who fought to create and subsequently fund the state’s first Healthy Food Financing program putting our state steps closer to closing the grocery gap in communities across Alabama.”
The shortage of retail establishments that sell fresh food means that residents, in both urban and rural areas, must travel out of their neighborhoods to reach the nearest store that sells the foods necessary to maintain a healthy diet.
“Grocery stores play a vital role in Alabama communities, and the Healthy Food Financing Program is an effective, viable and economically sustainable policy solution to the problem of limited food access to fresh healthy foods in communities,” said Ellie Taylor, president of the Alabama Grocers Association. Healthy food financing initiatives can have a long lasting economic impact throughout local communities and the state. Some of these benefits include: boosted economic activity, new jobs, increased wages and increased tax revenue,” she added.
Alabama voters understand the importance of fresh food access too. According to a recent poll conducted by Southeast Research, more than 90% of registered Alabama voters believe it is important for children to have access to fresh and healthy foods. Additional results show that overall support for addressing the problem of healthy food access is robust and widespread across every demographic in the state.
“Healthy food financing initiatives are proven components of comprehensive public health models that help combat severe and costly illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” explained Jessica James, Alabama Advocacy Chair, American Heart Association. “Reversing these negative health trends can position Alabama to save millions in health care costs while improving health outcomes across the state.”
VOICES for Alabama’s Children, the Alabama Grocers Association, and the American Heart Association along with over 75 state, regional and national partners launched the healthy food access campaign in Alabama in early 2014, seeking to raise awareness about the growing concern of childhood obesity and its relationship to food access. The 2016 study commission recommended that the legislature make a significant investment of roughly $3 million in order to realize the full health and economic development impact a program like this can have in Alabama. All three organizations will continue to fight for expansion of the program because more funding is needed to truly improve food access in Alabama communities.
September Edition of Alabama Grocer Digital Magazine
Please find below the September edition of Alabama Grocer Digital Magazine! This added member benefit is meant to be shared so feel free to forward this email to associates in your organization or store level teams! Team members who want to receive the magazine directly can sign up by sending their name, title, company and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoy the Alabama Grocer, please consider advertising in an upcoming issue. We can only continue this benefit, if it is supported by the members.
This edition features stories on: Fresh Ideas on Perishable Shrink, Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Questions, Tax Reform, a message from the Chairman and the President; and several articles from writers across the nation.
Click the image below to read the magazine!
Alabama Grocers Association Endorses Luther Strange For US Senate
The Alabama Grocers Association, the leading voice of the grocery industry in the state of Alabama, has officially endorsed Luther Strange for United States Senate. Founded in 1990, AGA is dedicated to advocating for a business climate that creates, protects and promotes the grocery industry in Alabama.
“Senator Strange understands the role of the grocery industry and its importance to the economy of the state of Alabama,” said Ellie Taylor, AGA President. “Federal laws and regulations have a direct impact on our member companies and he will continue to be a great leader in the U.S. Senate.”
Strange graciously accepted the endorsement. “I appreciate this endorsement and the confidence placed in me by the Alabama Grocers Association. For too long, unnecessary federal regulations have been a wet blanket on this industry, keeping them from expanding and hiring. As Alabama’s Attorney General, I fought the expansion of federal red tape, and as your Senator, I will fight even harder to roll it back.”
As Attorney General, Luther Strange fought for grocery related issues including frivolous patent trolls that would prohibit a person from asserting a claim of patent infringement in bad faith and organized retail theft. He was also a leader in opposing costly overregulation and the expansion of the federal government at the expense of the state and Alabama jobs.
“As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Senator Strange will play a vital role in the design of the next farm bill,” said Frank D’Amico, III, BTC Wholesale Distributors. “Programs in this bill include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Woman, Infant’s and Children’s Program (WIC) which have a direct effect on the ability of the grocery industry to serve the needs of their consumers.”
Grocery stores in Alabama generate over $3.6 billion in annual sales. They provide over 25,000 stable reliable jobs with over $750 million in annual wages paid. The AGA represents over 350 grocery related members serving over 1,000 retail outlets.
About the Alabama Grocers Association: The Alabama Grocers Association is a state trade association representing the grocery retail industry since 1990. With more than 135 retail members operating nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, as well as over 225 manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and other members, the AGA is the voice of the industry in the state of Alabama.
For more information please contact Ellie Taylor at 205.823.5498 or email@example.com.
Alabama Grocers Association Holds Annual Convention
The Alabama Grocers Association recently held their 27th Annual Convention at the Sandestin Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. The Association brought members from all aspects of the grocery industry together to promote the growth and success of the food industry throughout the state of Alabama.
The convention kicked off with the Larry D. Eddleman, Sr. Golf Classic at the Baytown Golf Club. The evening followed with a silent auction and casino party. First Place golf winners included Graham Minor, Trey Day and Brad Maness with Bevco Beverages and Pete Mahoney with Food Giant.
A silent auction and raffle chaired by Johnny Collins of Barber’s Dairy was held Monday night which raised more than $30,000 for the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation. This year the Alabama Grocers Education Foundation awarded 61 scholarships valued at more than $59,500, and to date has awarded more than 1.2 million dollars in total scholarships.
The business forum was held the following day and included Keynote Speaker, Thom Singer, a sales and marketing veteran, who spoke on connecting with people in a gadget crazed world. Mr. Eric Pulwicz, FBI Special Agent, held an active shooter seminar and informed attendees how to manage real-life situations, address employer responsibilities and develop workplace strategies.
ABC Administrator Mac Gipson addressed the group on the new Off-Premise Tasting Regulations that go into effect August 5, 2017.
Stacey Neumann, Vendor Management Director, Alabama WIC Department addressed attendees on the upcoming e-WIC rollout beginning in March 2018.
Lastly, an e-Commerce Panel was held to teach attendees the newest consumer trends and best practices related to home delivery and click-and-collect services.
Tuesday afternoon also included an exhibit hall with more than 70 booths with vendors from all aspects of the grocery industry.
On Tuesday night, the Chairman’s Banquet was held with football legend Al Del Greco as celebrity entertainment. Several Awards were given including the presentation of a Joint Resolution from Senate Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Chair Tom Whatley commemorating the SNAP Online Pilot Program to Jimmy Wright, Wright’s Market.
Association Legislative Consultant Patrick McWhorter presented Senator Jabo Waggoner with the Spirit of Alabama Award, which recognizes individuals that are involved in the support of pro-business legislation and are advocates for the grocery community in the state of Alabama.
A Joint Resolution was presented to Chairman Peter V. Gregerson commemorating his Glen P. Woodard award from the Food Marketing Institute from Senator Jabo Waggoner.
Mr. Keith Lusk was given a plaque of appreciate for his 12 years serving on the AGA Board and was made honorary lifetime member.
New Officers and Directors were installed. Mr. Peter V. Gregerson, Jr., Gregerson’s Foods, was given the Chairman’s Plaque of Appreciation for his dedicated work during his two-year term as Chairman and the gavel was transferred to Mr. Frank D’Amico, III, BTC Wholesale, who will serve as Chairman until 2019.
About the Alabama Grocers Association: The Alabama Grocers Association is a state trade association representing the grocery retail industry since 1990. With more than 135 retail members operating nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, as well as over 225 manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and other members, the AGA is the voice of the industry in the state of Alabama. For more information, go to www.alabamagrocers.org.