As a member of the Mississippi Food Policy Council, I co-chair the Food Access Subcommittee with Alicia Landry of USM. We work on a variety of topics including underserved popluations and food deserts.
Lack of access is not an issue that can be solved through a single-focused campaign. Rather, there are multiple factors that make lack of access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods a daily struggle for over 800,000 Mississippians including 200,000 children.
Factors contributing to lack of access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods:
- Too few grocery stores in the state
- Transportation boundaries
- High caloric options outweigh healthy options in rural areas
I recently attended a luncheon sponsored by The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi where we discussed healthy food access and the state’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI).
Helping communities secure a grocery or convenient store where there are none is an initiative The Partnership is involved with in collaboration with The American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Voices for Healthy Kids. This includes the successful passage of a Healthy Food Financing bill that will allow for interested developers, grocers and other retailers to apply for grants and or loans to build, upgrade, remodel or buy equipment to a grocery or convenient stores. For more information on Healthy Food Financing please contact Langston Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of http://www.healthyeatingstartshere.com.