Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

New Initiative Increases Funding For Grocery Stores

The Partnership for a Healthier America is working with several leading banks and national grocery retailers to increase stores in food deserts.

grocery store

Photo: Amanda Govaert (Flickr)

The goal is that an increased number of grocery stores will provide fresh food to more Americans and help people to make healthier eating choices.

Partnering With Corporations

Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America announced this week that several major grocery store corporations and large banks have backed a proposal to build and expand more grocery stores in American food deserts.

Banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, Kaiser Permanente, and NCB have agreed to provide financing below or at market rates to encourage stores like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and SuperValu to move into areas that do not have access to a grocery store.

More Money For Freshness

The new stores will open in California and are part of a $200-million program which has been modeled after similar food programs in New York and Pennsylvania.

The funds will be used to help grocers expand their existing stores with refrigerated displays so they can accommodate fresh food. They will also help stores transport fresh food and build new locations where none currently exist.

The goal is that an increased number of grocery stores will provide fresh food to more Americans and help people to make healthier eating choices.

If You Build It, They Might Not Come

However, critics have concern about the plan.

A recent study conducted by the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that income and proximity to fast food restaurants have more of a sway over people’s eating habits than their closeness to a grocery store.

Others raise the issue that big box retailers like Wal-Mart will push out small grocers and farmers markets and instead promote the other unhealthy food in their stores such as processed meals and soda.

Read More:

  • Big Retailers Make Pledge of Stores for ‘Food Deserts’ (The New York Times)
  • Grocery store financing program to be announced (The Los Angeles Times)
  • Why is Michelle Obama’s food initiative promoting Walmart? (Grist)
Julie Rooney

Julie Rooney is a vegetarian, musician, and artist who primarily works in video and new media. Currently she is the director of Low Road Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery located in Greencastle, Indiana.

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