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U.S. cities take action to fill “food deserts” with nutritious choices

Across the U. S., some large and small cities are leading efforts to add healthy food options to areas considered “food deserts.” In a research brief, the National League of Cities highlights how four cities are responding to the problem.

Working with convenience stories that specialize in selling processed and packaged food is a common theme. The Healthy Corner Store Project in St. Louis emphasizes nutrition education for storeowners. Philadelphia’s Get Healthy initiative has teamed with hundreds of corner stores on healthier food selections.

Minneapolis passed a 2008 ordinance that requires small food shops to carry five types of fresh fruit or vegetables. Meanwhile, Tupelo, Mississippi’s Health on a Shelf program encourages shops to place healthy foods in easy-to-spot locations.

The U. S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as an area in which at least 500 people and/or 33 percent of the population live more than a mile from a large supermarket or grocery store. Fast-food outlets and corner stores are often the only choices in food deserts. Click here for an overview of the brief.

National League of Cities

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