Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Food Policy Focus

The DMI blog, a perspective that we often have our disagreements with, has a post today on the issue of access to healthy food in low income neighborhoods. While we might disagree with the observation- "Far too often, the neighborhoods where the working poor live gets the short end of the stick when it comes to many of the services so many take for granted...The problem is especially clear in the struggles of people in low-income communities to get access to healthy foods."-we do agree that a policy of incentivizing the building of more supermarkets makes some good sense.

In particular, DMI points to the Fresh Food Financing Initiative that was a brainchild of the Food Trust out of Philadelphia, and the Healthy Food Retail Innovations Fund, a bil that is being considered by the California legislature. New York City and New York State need to develop this kind of a strategy in order to not only improve food access, but to also encourage minority entrepreneurship, since so many of the neighborhoods in question do have store owners who reflect the neighborhood's demographics.

The city has created a new food policy czar at the behest of Speaker Quinn, and the development of a city food policy needs to include a strong economic development piece; along with incentives to encourage the stocking of healthier food options. As we have commented before, an important component of this policy thrust should be the inclusion of a creative marking initiative in low income communities. This is precisely what the Health Corps is looking to do; bring the young people into the equation as promoters of healthier eating alternatives.