Bloomberg Philanthropies

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Project Type:

Civic Engagement

Tackling Food Apartheid in Savannah, GA

A number of reasons have left entire neighborhoods in Savannah, Georgia with no easy access to fresh produce, negatively affecting the health and dietary standards of residents.

Our Approach

Opting for a proactive approach, Savannah engaged with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership initiative—a collaborative venture between Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University. Over a span of nine months, a dedicated team from the city hall immersed themselves in a structured program. This process encompassed framing the pressing issue, actively involving the community for firsthand perspectives, brainstorming solutions rooted in acquired insights, refining and prototyping ideas, culminating in a comprehensive proposal presentation to the Mayor and City Council. Central to the program's success was the team's commitment to direct resident engagement, bypassing mere "proxies." This translated into tangible on-ground efforts, such as initiating dialogues with SNAP beneficiaries during farmers' truck drop-offs, implementing rapid prototype testing at high-footfall convenience stores, and orchestrating data collection at locales familiar to the impacted residents. This immersive engagement bore fruit, unraveling a plethora of insights and unveiling a diverse range of potential initiatives that transcended the previously debated, singular solution of constructing a supermarket in an unsuitable area.

Our Impact

By adopting a resident-centric approach, the team unearthed a rich array of possible initiatives that provided a broader, more holistic perspective, breaking away from the five-year-long singular focus. This innovative methodology promises a more informed and diversified strategy to combat the pressing challenge of food apartheid in Savannah.

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