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Public-Private Partnership Targets Food Deserts

photo of Caroline Harries
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

State officials are teaming up with business leaders to bring more fresh food to low-income and underserved areas.

Advocates say too many Ohioans, especially in low-income neighborhoods, don’t have access to grocery stores with fresh produce and healthy food.

That’s why the state is teaming up with private partners to launch the Healthy Food for Ohio program. As the program’s Caroline Harries explains, $10 million in grants and loans will be available to encourage grocers to open new stores.

“It can absolutely help them consider neighborhoods that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered and be sustainable in those areas.”

A representative from the grocery industry said stores have very little wiggle room when it comes to opening a new location so offering startup money is a good incentive.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.