In Food access program at risk, the Worthington Globe's Karl Evers-Hilstrom reports:
The agriculture finance bill, one of the bills Dayton rejected, would have left the Good Food Access Fund with no money for the next biennium. . . .
The fund is part of an effort to deliver local produce to areas that otherwise wouldn’t have access — a major issue in rural areas such as southwest Minnesota, where most small towns don’t have a supermarket.
Studies show a lack of access to healthy, affordable food options in small, rural towns means more health problems for those residents, including a greater risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Steve Kinsella of the Minnesota for Healthy Kids Coalition said the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) saw significantly more applicants for the grant program than expected.
The MDA received more than 50 applications totaling more than $1.5 million out of the $150,000 available for Equipment and Physical Improvement Grants. Many of the applicants were small-town grocery stores looking for help in updating their refrigeration systems, an expensive operation that typically isn’t economically feasible.
The fund was set to receive $500,000 for the next biennium, but the money was cut out during conference committee.
“Minnesota has this significant food desert problem,” Kinsella said. “The legislature acted last year to take steps to help address the problem, tremendous interest developed for the program and its potential to help improve access to healthy and affordable foods, and then the legislature killed the funding for it.” . . .
Read the rest at the Worthington Globe. For more information, check out our earlier post, Food access: will Minnesota's legislature leave small town grocers and consumers behind?
If there's one way to show love for rural Minnesota, it's re-affirming our food deserts.
Photo: An ex-grocery store.
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