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Anti-Hunger Advocates Continue Push for Food Access Bill

With fewer grocery stores in the state, Minnesota anti-hunger advocates are pushing for more funding for farmers and mobile food markets. (iStockphoto)
With fewer grocery stores in the state, Minnesota anti-hunger advocates are pushing for more funding for farmers and mobile food markets. (iStockphoto)
May 12, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Local anti-hunger advocates are setting up a mobile food market at the state Capitol Complex today as a way to ask lawmakers to consider a program aimed at ending food deserts. Several groups, including the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition, say the Good Food Access Program will set aside funds to expand mobile and farmers markets in underserved parts of the state.

A recent study shows about a million-and-a-half Minnesotans do not live in close proximity to a full-service grocery store. To help close that gap, the group Hunger Solutions Minnesota is backing what's called the Good Food Access Program. Executive Director Colleen Moriarty said the program will help expand mobile food markets, which are essentially grocery stores on wheels.

"This is a place where you can get affordable, discounted groceries that are nutritious in a mobile market, which is really addressing some of the transportation issues not just in the metro area, but throughout the state," she said.

Hunger Solutions, the Wilder Foundation and Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition are inviting lawmakers and the public to check out the Twin Cities Mobile Market which will be stationed at the state Capitol Complex this morning.

Moriarty said the fund is needed in part because from 2007 to 2012, most counties in the state lost grocery store locations.

"In Greater Minnesota, we know, because of a lack of being able to afford to keep businesses going, that we've lost some grocery stores," she said. "There just hasn't been the kind of development that the population has needed."

The food program bill in the Senate would set aside $5 million in one-time funding to provide grants and low-cost loans with the goal of expanding access to healthy foods in the state.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN