In an effort to halt the growing trend of both urban and rural food deserts in communities across the nation, President Obama has included $400 million in his 2011 budget proposal to fund the National Healthy Food Financing Initiative. And on November 30th 2010, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced legislation that would authorize the USDA to start using those funds.
Based on the successful program in Pennsylvania that has created 4,800 new jobs and brought expanded access to fresh foods to more than 400,000 people, the National Healthy Food Financing Initiative is devoted to expanding access to supermarkets, farmers markets and other food access vehicles in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
According to the advocacy group PolicyLink, expanding the program to a national level will result in the development of more than 2,000 stores or other healthy food retail outlets in low-income rural, suburban and urban communities; increased access to healthy food for more than 15.3 million Americans; and the creation of nearly 200,000 new jobs.
With more than 27 million people -- mostly those with low incomes and people of color -- in the United States suffering from a lack of access to healthy food, the time to act is now. Send your elected officials a letter asking them to support the National Healthy Food Financing Initiative legislation.