avenues to look at. She noted, however, the unintended consequences of building a large supermarket could put smaller stores out of business. Perhaps, she suggested, a policy should also consider how to help smaller stores. She noted that after WIC implemented its new policy, it was important to work with some of the WIC-only stores to learn how to properly handle perishable foods. Using this example, she noted sometimes changes in policy require education. Some educational interventions would bolster resources that are already in the community and help them do a better job when an incentive is added to encourage participants to buy more.
Allard said there is room to experiment with low-cost interventions to see if they make a difference. He suggested solutions that are tailored to the specific nature of the need in a community and the specific dynamics in which place might matter. Rather than a one-size-fits-all operation, a portfolio of options would be relevant or tailored to specific settings.
James Weill (Food Research and Action Center) noted that his organization is working on strategies for encouraging supermarkets that are subsidized by foundations or by local, state, or federal governments to go into a neighborhood to also conduct aggressive outreach for SNAP, Earned Income Tax Credit, and child credit. He expressed hope that these strategies would grow participation in these neighborhoods.
Sonya Jones (University of South Carolina) encouraged Allard to consider the fact that a food store is the front for an entire food system. It is not surprising to characterize a local problem, but it is also a global marketplace that is dealing with local constraints. She said that she appreciated the example of the nonprofit grocery store, saying that an interesting policy question is how much local control communities have over the kinds of food available and where they are located, and whether this is a predictor of food insecurity in the community. Allard reported on some conceptually promising work on civic community and social capital that addresses those issues. He said the case can be made that areas with greater advocacy, whether political, economic, or policy related, are going to have better or different types of resources.