Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3 Suppl 2):S116-22. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.011.

Understanding policy enactment: the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative.

Author information

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.



Healthy-food financing initiatives have been endorsed as a way to improve food access, but relatively little research exists on understanding the formulation of such policies.


This paper investigates the development of the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) to highlight factors that enabled and impeded its enactment.


In 2010 and 2011, semistructured interviews were conducted with 22 key informants with firsthand experience of this case, including representatives from the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and government. A participant-observer approach was used to synthesize these observations with archived written materials and the authors' own observations.


Historical disparities in food access in New Orleans were exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina, which also generated neighborhood activism and a pressing need to rebuild the city. A Food Policy Advisory Committee (FPAC) was formed from diverse groups. This paper describes the evolution of FPAC, its deliberations and report to the City Council, and actions to promote a financing initiative, as well as delays encountered in the process.


Enactment of the FFRI was facilitated by a window of opportunity that opened in the storm's aftermath, broad-based stakeholder buy-in, the existence of political champions, and policy-relevant information that was simple and convincing. Impediments to success included the constant turnover of city staff, a skeptical state bureaucracy, and the many competing priorities in New Orleans. This study highlights the importance of having a clear policy objective to address a well-defined and illustrated problem, key advocates in diverse organizations, and broad-based support for its implementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center