PolicyLink Joins First Lady Michelle Obama and Partners for California FreshWorks Fund Launch

At a White House press conference today, PolicyLink joined First Lady Michelle Obama, Partnership for a Healthier America, The California Endowment and other equity partners to announce the California FreshWorks Fund, a $200 million public-private partnership loan fund that will support the creation and expansion of grocery stores in underserved areas across the state, especially in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

In response to today’s announcement, PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell released the following statement:

“We applaud the First Lady, Partnership for a Healthier America, and The California Endowment for their demonstrated commitment to making the healthy choice the easy choice. Where you live significantly impacts how you live, and yet millions of Americans today do not have neighborhood access to a grocery store. In places where healthy food access has increased, residents’ eating habits have been shown to improve, particularly in low-income areas and communities of color where obesity rates are highest and lack of access is most severe.

“Today’s launch of the California FreshWorks Fund marks a critical step towards breaking down these barriers and improving healthy food access in California. Programs like this, the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) – for which President Obama has already allocated $45 million and proposed $330 million in the 2012 budget – and others already running in Pennsylvania, New York, New Orleans, Illinois, and New Jersey not only encourage healthier lifestyles, but help to create more economically-viable communities.

“These kinds of programs also highlight the incredible opportunities for continued public-private collaboration to improve individual and community health. Together, we can secure a stronger, healthier America.”

Join us now in the comments section to share how you think today’s announcement can help inspire similar initiatives across America.

And be sure to check out our Letter-to-the-Editor in today’s Los Angeles Times addressing further the critical need for improved healthy food access.


4 Responses to “PolicyLink Joins First Lady Michelle Obama and Partners for California FreshWorks Fund Launch”

  1. avatar

    I conducted parent focus groups in many of San Diego County's diverse communities. All parents wanted to have better access to fresh foods. This is addressing their wish. An interesting request we heard from immigrant/refuggee parents was also classes or cards in their language at the stores that explained how to cook the vegtables they found in the stores since they are different than the vegtables they are used to cooking with.

  2. avatar

    This is great news, however there are some huge concerns.
    The top being ownership and economic development. While there is a push to allow for federal funds to flow in to 'inner-cities' in hopes that we eat better?
    However, what we need to be mindful, that this push for local and groceries doesnt allow for black ownership and business development.
    I will insist the code language of 'inner city and low income' is predominately black folks.
    This movement should increase AA owned business seven fold, I am afraid that isn't what will happen.
    You have many of our 'friends' that are looking to cash in on this.
    So while many say they want to improve our health, they also want to get paid.
    So to the young all my young black men *and you all hear how dire our situation is) this is a call to action that neither the Yankee nor the Confederate walk away with your pie and slice!

  3. avatar

    Why is PolicyLink working hand in hand with Wal-Mart with the Michele Obama initiative?

    Should we be surprised? Only if we don't realize that corporate America is the "real owner" of our society.

    I value the critique by the New Rules Project as one of the few organizations that unveils the nature of Wal-Mart.

    But we need to act upon these revelations, analyses. Only if we have a concerted movement, a social movement, can we PUSH leaders in new directions.

    What about the absence of union stores in the list of "partners"? This is indicative of both the exclusion of unions, and perhaps, the failure of unions to force themselves into this initiative.

    There's no magic bullet. this is a struggle in which we can be outspent…but, if we organize PEOPLE we may be able to redirect such programs.

    • avatar

      No we are not working with Walmart. We were present to celebrate the California FreshWorks Fund's launch and the community leaders and organizations present at the White House event for all their work to expand healthy food access in their own backyards by empowering local grocers, farmers' markets, bodegas, corner stores and other neighborhood establishments to stock up on healthier foods.

      PolicyLink will continue to do what we've always done – working with folks on the ground who are doing amazing things in their communities to improve healthy food access, and helping to ensure that their voices are heard and successes celebrated.

      You can read our op-ed with The Reinvestment Fund and The Food Trust "Supporting Mom-and-Pop Stores in Food Deserts" for more background http://www.grist.org/locavore/2011-06-13-supporti

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