Growing American Jobs While Slimming Down Obesity

This afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of the California FreshWorks Fund (CFWF), a $200 million public-private partnership loan fund that will support the creation and expansion of grocery stores in underserved areas across the state.

In an op-ed in today’s Roll Call, PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell and National Grocers Association President and CEO Peter Larkin discuss how the national Healthy Food Financing Legislation (HFFI), CFWF, and similar programs across the country can help improve community health and create jobs. Here’s an excerpt:

The federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative — for which the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury have announced $45 million in available funds — uses federal loan and grant programs to leverage private capital and help grocers and farmers markets open new locations in underserved neighborhoods, providing access to healthy foods and much-needed jobs.

Other innovative approaches are also eligible to get healthy food to communities struggling without any available options. President Barack Obama has proposed $330 million for HFFI in his 2012 budget.

The power of this type of public-private partnership was recently highlighted when the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, pledged its own commitment to HFFI, announcing that a substantial portion of its New Markets Tax Credit investments will be allocated for fresh food projects in high-need areas.

You can read the entire piece here, as well as this LA Times Letter-to-the-Editor from PolicyLink President Judith Bell on expanding healthy food access. See you in the comments section.



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