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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

1
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

PURPOSE:

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

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

PMID:
22898160
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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