Pass the Food Deserts Act of 2017
Pass the Food Deserts Act of 2017
Food Deserts are defined as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.” (American Nutrition Association)
The U.S. suffers from high rates of food insecurity, where 1 in 8 people are living in a food insecure household. Food deserts are one of the many causes of food insecurity, and it is of the utmost importance that these food deserts are eradicated from our country. The Food Deserts Act of 2017 will be instrumental in eliminating food deserts within out country, but it has not yet been passed.
This bill, which was introduced to the House of Representatives on July 29 of 2017, was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, and later referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition. It proposes establishing a Department of Agriculture program that would provide grants to states in order to incentivize the establishment of more supermarket or grocery stores in food deserts and impoverished areas. Currently, there have been no further bill actions since 2017. We urge the members of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, as well as all members of the House of Representatives to push this bill forward so that it can be passed swiftly. The summary of the Food Desert Act of 2017 is copied below.
This bill could help the 40 million people in our country currrently living in food insecure households. The right to nutritious food is a basic human right, one that all humans deserve to have. Every person in the United States should have access to a grocery store or supermarket that provides nutritious foods. It is our hope that with these signatures we can prove that this is a vital piece of legislature that needs to be passed as soon as possible in order to eliminate food deserts and help the people of the United States.
Copied Summary of the Food Deserts Act of 2017:
This bill establishes a Department of Agriculture program to provide grants to states for revolving funds to support the establishment and operation of grocery stores in underserved communities.
An underserved community is a community that has: (1) limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in grocery retail stores or farmer-to-consumer direct markets; and (2) a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate.
States must use the funds to make loans to support grocery stores in underserved communities, including for: opening a store (excluding new construction), supporting or purchasing an existing store, or supporting a store located in a community that would be underserved without the store.
States may only make loans for grocery stores that meet requirements related to:
emphasizing unprocessed, healthful foods;
providing staple foods and a variety of raw fruits and vegetables;
having a plan to keep the foods in stock;
charging prices at or below market averages;
meeting specified matching requirements using non-federal funds; and
being qualified to operate a store or having partnerships with organizations that provide technical assistance.
States must prioritize loan applications from entities that meet criteria related to:
hiring workers from the underserved community,
providing classes or educational information about a healthful diet,
sourcing food from local urban farms and gardens,
not selling alcohol or tobacco products, or
demonstrating existing supply chain relationships or expertise in the grocery industry.