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In Vinton County, Ohio a new grocery store is helping to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables, where there once was a food desert, with little to no access to healthy foods, only processed foods.
“We have to take people shopping because there’s no place to shop. To pick up an average client in Vinton County were going to have to average at least 20 miles round trip and it can go up as high as 60 round trip,” explained director of Vinton County Senior Services to You’re the Cure GRA.
Many advocates worked hard to help bring new grocery stores into the state including a new $2million dollar budget that included seed capital to create a Healthy Food Financing Initiative signed by Ohio Governor John Kaisich in June 2016.
The new grocery store broke ground on Monday, March 20th where the local high school band, federal, state, and county officials and more celebrated the groundbreaking together, even getting national news coverage.
Having healthier food environments can happen through healthy food financing Initiatives (HFFI’s) that can not only help increase access to healthy foods for many people, especially disadvantaged communities of color but is also a way to increase economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
In fact, research shows that communities with more access to healthier foods, even in convenient stores or within walking distance to lower income communities can help increase purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Another great way for communities to integrate health along with healthy food access is to connect people with healthy food at their doctor’s office, schools, or at their local areas through transportation spaces.
Promotion of healthier food products like fresh fruits and vegetables is also vital in grocery stores, where one study saw a 28% increase in the sale of high fidelity foods like fruits and vegetables.
“We are to be role models to our kids too, so it’s important that they learn how to eat the right foods too, and take care of their values,” Lizy Morales-Rodriguez, mom, and advocate for healthy food access said.
All of these ways to increase access to and purchasing of healthier foods, helps the health of the whole community, building an environment where healthy choices are easy choices for all communities, especially Latino communities, who often live in neighborhoods with more fast food access.
To learn more about the need for healthier food environments for Latinos, click here.