top of page
  • Writer's pictureFarmbrite

Combating Food Deserts: How Some US States Are Leading the Way

Updated: Mar 4


Combating food deserts with farmers markets

Food deserts, where residents have limited access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food, have been a persistent issue in the United States. Combating food deserts involves addressing the lack of access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food in certain communities. Many states have taken steps to tackle this issue but there is still much work to be done.


The problem changes depending on how you look at the state. Some states will have a higher density of people living in a food desert and others have a higher land mass to food desert ratio. The US Department of Agriculture publishes an atlas of food deserts. It details the areas in many ways. Any way you slice it, there are food deserts in the US which means people aren't able to access healthy food easily. Read on to find out what states are working to combat food deserts and what you might do in your area.



How States Can Combat Food Deserts


States and local municipalities can employ various strategies to combat food deserts, addressing the lack of access to fresh and healthy food in underserved communities. These strategies often involve a combination of policy initiatives, financial incentives, and community-based programs. Here are several ways in which states might combat food deserts:

  1. Tax Incentives for Retailers: States might provide tax incentives for grocery stores and retailers that open or expand in food deserts. These incentives may include tax breaks or credits to offset the costs associated with establishing businesses in these areas.

  2. Mobile Farmers' Markets and Food Trucks: States may support or fund mobile farmers' markets and food trucks that bring fresh produce and healthy food options directly to underserved communities. This approach helps overcome transportation barriers faced by residents in accessing nutritious food.

  3. Community Development Grants: Allocate grants to support community-driven initiatives, such as community gardens, urban farms, or cooperative grocery stores. These grants can empower local residents to take an active role in addressing food access issues.

  4. Transportation Solutions: Invest in improved public transportation options to enhance residents' access to grocery stores outside their neighborhoods. States may also explore shuttle services or other innovative transportation solutions to bridge the gap in food access.

  5. Policy Advocacy and Legislation: Advocate for and implement legislative measures that address the root causes of food deserts. This may involve changes to zoning laws, economic development policies, and regulations that impact the availability of fresh and healthy food in underserved areas.


States Combating Food Insecurity

Recognizing the significance of this problem, several US states have carved a path toward closing the gap in available healthy food. Check out how some of these US States are leading the charge.


California's Healthy Retail Program

California, a state known for its agricultural abundance, has implemented the Healthy Retail Program. This initiative aims to increase access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved communities by partnering with local corner stores and small markets. The program provides technical assistance and financial incentives to store owners, encouraging them to stock and promote nutritious food options.



Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative

Pennsylvania has taken a proactive approach to address food deserts through the Fresh Food Financing Initiative. This program provides grants and low-interest loans to encourage the development of grocery stores and fresh food retailers in underserved areas. By creating financial incentives, the state is working to make healthy food options more accessible.


Illinois' Healthy Food Financing Act

Illinois has enacted the Healthy Food Financing Act to support efforts to alleviate food deserts. This legislation establishes a fund to provide grants, loans, and technical assistance to grocery stores and retailers willing to expand into underserved communities. The goal is to make fresh, nutritious food available to all residents.


New York's FreshConnect Program

The state of New York has launched the FreshConnect Program, which aims to increase access to fresh, locally-grown foods in underserved communities. This initiative provides financial support and grants to farmers' markets, mobile markets, and food distribution programs that serve areas with limited access to fresh produce.


Michigan's MI Healthy Food Access Campaign

Michigan's MI Healthy Food Access Campaign is designed to address food deserts by improving access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved areas. This initiative leverages funding to support the development of new grocery stores, the renovation of existing stores, and the expansion of healthy food options in convenience stores and small markets.


Ohio's Healthy Food Financing Initiative

Ohio has implemented various initiatives, including the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, to encourage the development of grocery stores and fresh food retailers in underserved areas.


Lousiana's Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Louisiana has undertaken efforts to combat food deserts, including initiatives to support more local farmers' markets and improve access to fresh produce in underserved communities. It is also working to support seniors in eating nutritious foods from the farmer's markets.


Maryland's Food Access and Nutrition Network

Maryland has been involved in addressing food deserts through programs such as the Maryland Food Access and Nutrition Network, which focuses on improving access to healthy food for all residents. They have many initiatives that are in the beginning stages as well.


Other states are offering grants, loans, technical assistance, and fostering partnerships with local businesses while working towards a healthier and more equitable food landscape. While progress is evident, continued advocacy and support for these initiatives are essential to eliminate food deserts and ensure everyone has access to nutritious food.


Many US states are taking substantial steps to tackle the challenge of food deserts through a range of initiatives. From California's Healthy Retail Program to Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative, these state-level efforts are making fresh, healthy food more accessible to underserved communities.



Farmbrite


Farmbrite is dedicated to helping close the gap in food deserts we offer 65% off for non-profits. If you are a community member and wish to take advantage of a non-profit Farmbrite account, please reach out to us!


Sources:

The California Department of Public Health provides information on the Healthy Retail Program and its impact on improving food access in the state. California Department of Public Health - Healthy Retail Program


The Reinvestment Fund, a partner in Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative, provides insights into the program's impact and success. The Reinvestment Fund - Fresh Food Financing Initiative


Illinois Policy, a nonpartisan organization, provides information on the Healthy Food Financing Act and its impact on food access in Illinois. Illinois Policy - Healthy Food Financing Act


New York State's official website offers detailed information about the FreshConnect Program and its impact on increasing food access in the state. New York State - FreshConnect Program


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development provides comprehensive information about the MI Healthy Food Access Campaign and its efforts to combat food deserts in the state. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development - MI Healthy Food Access

コメント


Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page