Cabinet Members Introduce Program to Address Food Deserts

The Obama administration released details of its Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a $400 million-plus program that aims to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities across the U.S. — so-called “food deserts.”

PHILADELPHIA — The Obama administration released details of its Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a $400 million-plus program that aims to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities across the U.S. — so-called “food deserts.”

The initiative was announced Friday here by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack [2]. The two cabinet members appeared with first lady Michelle Obama, who recently launched the "Let’s Move!" campaign to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

The financing initiative, a partnership among the Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services, will promote a range of interventions that expand access to nutritious foods, including developing and equipping grocery stores and other small businesses and retailers selling healthy food in communities that currently lack these options.

The administration said that with the first year of funding, the initiative will leverage enough investments to begin expanding healthy food options into as many as one-fifth of the nation’s food deserts and create thousands of jobs in urban and rural communities across the nation.

“Our effort to improve access to healthy and affordable food is a critically important step toward first lady Michelle Obama’s goal to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation,” said Vilsack. “The Healthy Food Financing Initiative will enhance access to healthy and affordable choices in struggling urban and rural communities, create jobs and economic development, and establish market opportunities for farmers and ranchers.”

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