Tag Archives: food desert

Solving Food Deserts: One Bill at a Time

Families Need Healthy Food Locally

House Bill 1143 (http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/house/1143#digest-heading), authored byRepresentative Robin Shackleford and co-authored by Representative Steven Davisson, Edward Clere, and Vanessa Summers seeks to combat the prevalence of food deserts in the state, establishing both a healthy food financing fund and a healthy food financing program under the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). The new fund will act to provide financing, in the form of loans and grants, for projects that will help increase the availability of fresh food in underserved communities. This is an important step in ensuring the health of Hoosiers across Indiana.

The bill has not moved since it was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means in the Indiana House of Representatives on January 7th. While the bill has yet to be heard by committee, its presence in the state’s legislative agenda illustrates legislators is encouraging since it signals that legislators are aware of food security problems within the state.  This map of Indianapolis illustrates the prevalence of food deserts,indicated by purple block groups, in Indianapolis. This map is courtesy of Savi, one of the nation’s first and largest community information systems.

by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student

Legislation to Fix Food Desert

Families Need Healthy Food Locally

In the 2019 legislative session, the Indiana Senate will consider a bill which will help residents in food deserts. Food deserts are urban or rural areas where affordable, fresh food isn’t easily available. Food deserts are currently defined as areas with no or few healthy food options available at retail outlets (more than one mile from a supermarket in urban areas and as more than 10 miles in rural areas). Numbers from the USDA indicate that roughly 10% of Marion County residents live in food deserts as of 2015. This lies in stark contrast to other Indiana counties. Only 2% of Hamilton County residents live in comparable food deserts for example. Senate Bill 143 aims to help fix the food desert problem. The bill proposes the implementation of a sales tax, not to exceed 1%, that will finance the healthy food and community development financing fund (IHCDA), a fund which will finance projects relating to healthy food, affordable housing, and community development. The bill will allow the fiscal body of an Indiana county to adopt the tax in areas designated as food desert districts.

by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student