Without access to healthy food, a nutritious diet and good health is out of reach. Healthy food financing
programs can help. These programs help local grocers to open, expand, and improve grocery stores and corner stores in neighborhoods that need food and jobs the most. The North Carolina General Assembly has included $250,000 funding for the creation of a statewide Healthy Corner Store Initiative in this year’s final state budget. The funding is a great incremental step forward in establishing the Initiative in North Carolina, which will increase access to healthy foods in low- and moderate-income communities across the state. This is the first time that state funds have been invested in a program of this kind. The program will be housed in the Department of Agriculture and connect NC farmers and fisherman with small food retailers so that they can sell fresh produce.
Also included in the budget is a provision to establish a study committee to look at the issue of whether funds from the federal Community Development Block Grants may be used to support the Healthy Corner Store Initiative in future years. The initiative is not just about the physical health of North Carolinians, but is also about the economic well-being of the state.