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

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