NASHVILLE (WDEF) – State Senator Todd Gardenhire is pushing a bill this session that targets food deserts.
Food deserts are areas that don’t have grocery stores, usually in poor neighborhoods.
A study found that 21% of Tennesseans live in food deserts; 15% are in urban areas.
The Chattanooga lawmaker’s bill would provide incentives for grocery stores to more into the deserts.
The Healthy Foods Financing Fund would use government grants and loans, federal tax cuts and financial assistance to the stores.
The goal is to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into our inner cities.
Senator Gardenhire says “I’ve met with many large chain grocery stores.”
“They simply do not find it profitable to go into inner city neighborhoods for a myriad of reasons, which is why these incentives are needed. The citizens in these neighborhoods have to rely on public transportation to get to a grocery store. This is a problem for many residents because a lot public transportation does not run after five or six pm.”
The Healthy Food Financing Act cleared it’s first hurdle when the Senate Commerce Committee approved it on Tuesday.