From our good friends at www.urbanfarmhhub.org, this post by Ashley DeForest:
In his FY2011 budget proposal, President Barack Obama addressed the urgent need for bringing healthy food options to underserved communities by calling for more than $400 million in investments in new and expanded supermarkets, farmers markets and other food stores.
The public-private grant and loan program would dramatically reduce the roughly 23 million Americans who have limited access to full-service supermarkets and create tens of thousands of retail and construction jobs in low-income communities.
The $400 million investment, split among the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service and U.S. Department of the Treasury, includes $250 million in New Market Tax Credit allocations to spur private investment in underserved communities.
For more than a year, PolicyLink, The Food Trust and The Reinvestment Fund have been working with the White House, the Senate, and the House to create a national-scale version of the successful Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative. The budget proposal marks an important step in bringing healthy food options to all Americans.
The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, championed by State Rep. Dwight Evans, became a highly successful public-private partnership between the Commonwealth and private partners. Widely recognized for its innovative design and purpose, the program has served as a model for similar efforts developing in other states, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Louisiana and Colorado.
Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), who introduced an effort to create such a program with a bipartisan resolution in the House last year, has been spearheading the effort in the House along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) and Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY).
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) is spearheading the effort in the Senate along with Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV).