Rep. Carson Reintroduces Bill to Fight Food Deserts
Indianapolis, IN – This week, Congressman André Carson (IN-07) reintroduced the Food Deserts Act (HR 8531), legislation that will help shrink food deserts. Food deserts are neighborhoods where access to nutritious and affordable food is scarce. Over 29 million people -- almost 10 percent of the U.S. population -- live without ready access to affordable, nutritious food and over 2 million people have no transportation to get to their nearest store.
This legislation will create USDA funding for state operated revolving funds that will issue low interest loans for the operation of grocery stores in food deserts. The bill ensures that recipients of these loans, including for-profit, non-profit and municipal entities, will provide affordable, healthy food, including fresh produce and staples like milk, bread and meat. It will also ensure that USDA professionals are available to provide technical assistance to recipients who need it.
“Nutritious food should be an expectation, not a luxury. That is why I am extremely pleased to reintroduce the Food Deserts Act, which creates new avenues to fund stores in underserved communities,” Congressman Carson said. “In the 7th Congressional District alone, 1 in 5 people live in a food desert. In these areas, grocery stores are unfortunately closing down, taking away healthy options, and prices are skyrocketing for smaller stores. Too many families already lack a car or reliable public transportation to get to the nearest alternative, often located over a mile away. These problems have only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, thousands of my constituents are struggling to find the food they need, with many forced to rely on fast food and convenience stores” Rep. Carson continued. “This is simply unacceptable, particularly in the wealthiest nation on Earth. The Food Deserts Act is a bold, common-sense solution to help reduce this inequality. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and pass it as soon as possible."