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.