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CCFB News» February 2022

Farm Bureau Looking to Address Food Access

02/23/2022 @ 12:30 pm

Cook County Farm Bureau® leaders are actively researching and developing a policy proposal to address food access. Nearly 39.5 million people in the United States are living in low-income and low food access areas, more commonly known as ‘food deserts.’

 

Food deserts are disproportionately found in high-poverty areas typically characterized with higher rates of abandoned or vacant homes, residents with lower levels of education, and higher rates of unemployment. Food deserts are also a disproportionate reality for Black communities. Lack of access to fresh, healthy foods may contribute to poor diet, obesity, and other diet-related illness.

 

The draft policy language provides that Farm Bureau supports:

  • Incentivizing grocery stores in underserved areas.
  • Programs to encourage heathy eating, food preparation, and proper food storage.
  • Healthy food preparation programs.
  • The development of policies to support grocery stores and neighborhood-based farmers’ markets.
  • Streamlining the process for permitting and launching grocery stores.
  • Partnering with the community when selecting food desert measurements, policies, and interventions.
  • Expanding pilot efforts allowing customers to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase groceries online not including service fees and delivery charges.
  • Food insecurity networks like food banks, non-profit grocers, and produce carts.
  • Streamlining food pantry expansions as a stopgap measure.

 

Leaders recognize that any approach to address food access should include short- and long-term solutions as well as the underlying causes of inequal food access.

 

Members interested in sharing their thoughts, comments, and feedback are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at bona@cookcfb.org.

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