Joint Award Announcement

Urban Harvest and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research receive funding to expand access to affordable, healthy food in the midst of COVID-19

Map of Double Up Houston Sites

In collaboration with Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Urban Harvest has been awarded a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a new project, “Creating a data-driven decision-support tool to ensure equitable access to healthy, affordable food in the Houston region during COVID-19.” 


This grant will enable Urban Harvest to craft an evidence-based strategy for its new Mobile Market, which will deliver healthy food options along with information about SNAP and the Double Up Houston program.



“As local data intermediaries, we are excited to partner with the Urban Harvest and use data to illuminate health challenges and opportunities,” said Jie Wu, director of research management and Houston Community Data Connections at the Kinder Institute. “This project will also help to build capacity in Houston’s nonprofits which is part of our mission.”


“Our collaboration with the Kinder Institute will allow the Urban Harvest’s Mobile Market to go where people need it the most, increasing access and affordability to healthy food choices in hard-to-reach, low-income, low-access areas. We want to make sure our efforts are creating a sustainable impact, reflecting the needs of the communities we serve, and we appreciate the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to make this happen,” said Urban Harvest Executive Director Janna Roberson.

The new Mobile Market aims to ensure access to healthy, affordable food throughout Houston’s most underserved areas, and especially for those community members who are facing heightened food insecurity during the pandemic. Acting as a research partner, the Kinder Institute will conduct data analysis and deliver a data tool that Urban Harvest can employ as it determines how to best reach food-insecure Houstonians with the Mobile Market.

The $40,000 for this project is part of a new grant initiative, “Using Data to Inform Local Decisions on COVID-19 Response and Recovery.” It is administered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Data for Healthier Communities (DHC) program, which seeks to:

Established in 2010, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research is a “think and do” tank that advances understanding of the challenges facing Houston and other urban centers through research, policy analysis, public outreach and collaboration with civic and political leaders. Learn more about Houston Community Data Connections

  1. Use data to strengthen the evidence base for how conditions of place impact health and well-being
  2. Communicate data in ways that change how audiences think about the relationship between place and health
  3. Build the capacity of local people, particularly in small and midsize cities, to use data to promote community leadership and make informed decisions
  4. Develop norms for how data should be created and used to ensure equity and inclusion.