While working at Public Health Solutions (PHS) a nonprofit organization that develops, implements and advocates dynamic solutions to prevent disease and improve community health, Stacey Flanagan, a graduate of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy wrote a proposal for what she hoped would be one of the first Healthy Food Finance Initiative (HFFI) in New York City. HFFI, a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, is a federal program that supports projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that currently lack these options and expand the availability of nutritious food, including developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, and farmers markets selling healthy food.
That proposal has just won a three-year, $760,000 grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop and implement a HFFI project, a healthy corner store concept that will partner with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The corner stores will be operated by a NYC based LLC called Food Access Concepts NYC, (FACNY) a private food retail company that has developed an effective model that caters specifically to WIC and SNAP beneficiaries.
Of her project, Flanagan said, “I worked on a three pronged concept engaging Mother’s and PrimeTime Nutrition out of California to start a FACNY, along with Public Health Solutions and a local economic development corporation, the Greater Jamaica Development Corp, in Jamaica Queens.”
These stores, located in the high-need, underserved communities of Jamaica, Corona and Flushing in Queens County, will carry all of the products authorized by the State WIC Program, as well as a diverse selection of other healthy, fresh foods. They do not sell or stock any alcohol, tobacco products, candy, or other or processed snacks. The stores will all be located either directly adjacent to or within close walking distance of WIC Centers, allowing for close collaboration with the WIC program and direct, ongoing client outreach and education.
“I am excited that my work at The New School inspired this HFFI in New York,” said Flanagan. “The intersection of policy meeting practice is at the heart of the work I did there and I am excited to have played a major role in changing the conversation in federal food policy implementation at a local level.”