Health Groups Renew Search For Solutions To Food Deserts

24 Jun Health Groups Renew Search For Solutions To Food Deserts

Indianapolis

Photo: Courtesy USDA

Green areas mark where food deserts are in Indianapolis.

Indiana health groups are rallying behind a plan to encourage grocery stores in neighborhoods which don’t have them.

Legislators are studying a proposal this summer to offer grants to grocery stores to help them open in so-called food deserts.

Groups from the American Heart Association to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry held a daylong meeting to discuss food desert solutions, and plan five town halls to encourage people to make the effort to eat healthy.

The Heart Association’s Danielle Patterson says for people without cars, not having a grocery store in the neighborhood leaves them with few options besides junk food and fast food.

“If that’s the only thing I have access to is unhealthy food then of course I’m going to choose it, but if I have access to healthier options and if I continue to receive messages that ‘hey this is better’ then I’m going to start to make healthier decisions.”

Patterson says the groups support the grant bill, but are also looking at other options for reaching under-served areas.

“Not every community wants a grocery store but how do we incorporate farm markets, food banks and technology for mobile delivery services.”

And Patterson says the groups are looking at ways to encourage convenience stores to stock healthier options.

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