First, it was the creation of a new "plate" graphic that instructs Americans about what they should be eating. Now, the Agriculture Department is infusing more financial resources into a grant program that will promote farmer's markets in rural and urban areas across America.
This year, the USDA will provide $10 million in grants, thus doubling what was allocated during Fiscal Year 2010, to help create roadside stands and healthy food outlets. These new venues will be strategically placed in "food deserts." In the past, Michelle Obama has described these areas as places where "...families wind up buying their groceries at the local gas station or convenience store, places that offer few, if any, healthy options.”
This uptick in government investment coincides with the belief that these food deserts contribute to obesity. Below, WOAI-TV covers how these healthy-food deficient areas impact residents:
CNSNews.com has more on Obama's new plans to remedy the issue:
The priority this year is to bring fresh food to people living in rural and urban "food deserts," a concept advanced by First Lady Michelle Obama. Food deserts are defined as areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly those composed of predominantly lower-income neighborhoods and communities...
The Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP) funds projects that "contribute to the economic and physical health of communities around the country," the USDA says. The goal is to “increase domestic consumption of agricultural commodities” by improving and expanding farmers markets, or creating new ones.
Since 1994, the number of farmers markets included in the USDA National Farmers Market Directory has expended more than three-fold, rising from 1,755 to 6,132. The end goal here is to inevitably provide better acces to healthier foods in areas that are extremely limited in their grocery availability. The deadline for these competitive grants is July 1.