Food desert bill may bring grocery stores to Chattanooga neighborhoods
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Here in Chattanooga, there are close to 30,000 people that are in those food deserts.
According to a study by the Tennessee Advisory Commission, a fifth of the state’s population lives in areas considered to be food deserts.
For several years, areas around East Chattanooga have been considered “food deserts”.
It’s an issue News 12 has followed to keep the community aware and informed.
Last year, we reported how not having a grocery store has been a struggle for one Glass Street area family.
Janette Richie, say, “I think it is very important because we have been living in a food dessert forever and there are a lot of people like myself have to ride the public transportation to go to the grocery store.”
The Healthy Food Financing Act is a new bill that has the potential to bring grocery stores to the communities that lack them.
Senator Todd Gardenhire, who sponsors this bill, hopes that it will not only help those who have to take public transportation to get grocery stores but also help people make healthy choices when it comes to their food.
Senator Gardenhire, says, “Statistics show that obesity rates in the inner cities are the highest of any zip code than any where else and diabetes is the highest of any zip codes than any where else because they are not getting the healthy food that they need.”
Gardenhire plans on offering incentives to grocery stores that come to inner cities.
The money will come from the Healthy Foods Financing Fund.
“If you’ll go down in these areas that we don’t have a food store, we’ll give you some tax incentives, we’ll make funds available and we’ll make loans available if you meet certain conditions”, says Gardenhire
The Senator suggests that those grocery stores must carry fresh produce, fresh meat and other perishable items.
Stores must also promote the hiring of local residents.