Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Bipartisan Bill in Congress Supports the Healthy Food Financing Initiative

On November 30, 2010, both the House and the Senate introduced bills to support Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Based on the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the national effort would authorize the USDA to provide start-up loans and grants to retailers to develop grocery stores, corners stores, and farmer’s markets in low-income communities. Both bills are intended to: (1) address the limited access to healthy foods in underserved communities; and (2) reduce health disparities and improve health of families and children, create jobs, and stimulate local economic development in low-income communities.

In 2008, the First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign, which seeks to reduce the growing childhood obesity epidemic, brought national attention to the problem of fresh food access in low-income communities. Studies show 23.5 million Americans in low-income communities are without supermarket access. Convenience stores selling high-fat and sugar-processed foods have become the norm in urban settings while in rural areas, there tends to be a lack of nearby food options at all. Limited access to nutritious, affordable, and high quality food is one of the leading contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic in America.

The bipartisan bill is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), with co-sponsors Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roland Burris (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) , Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); and is sponsored in the House by lead sponsor Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13) and co-sponsors Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-12), and Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-1).

For more information.

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