Kansas United States Senator Jerry Moran introduced the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act to incentivize food providers to invest in communities where people don’t have access to nutritious food.
“It is odd to think that here in Kansas, the breadbasket of the world, that there are people who go to bed hungry,” said Senator Moran. “There are people that live long distances from a grocery store that has a full array of healthy, nutritious products that improve the healthcare and the well-being of our citizens of our state.”
This is about anywhere food deserts exist.
“For as long as I’ve been in Congress, I have said from time to time, where I come from, economic development can be whether or not there’s a grocery store in town,” said Moran. “Almost none of my colleagues can understand how that would be an issue. Of course there’s a grocery store. There’s one on the corner in most instances. Not in places that are as rural as our state. As I became a Senator, I discovered that it’s not just a rural issue. The inner parts of cities in our state, Topeka and Kansas City and Wichita, the access to a grocery store by people who are elderly and low income is a challenge.”
The Kansas City Star reported earlier this week that from 2006 to 2010, according to a report on “The Rural Grocery Crisis,” a fifth of the state’s rural groceries shut down. The Center for Engagement and Community Development at Kansas State University recorded the loss of 43 of the 213 rural groceries since it started tracking them in 2007.
“It’s a constant effort in Kansas to make sure that people, particularly on low incomes, people who live in remote places, or people who have specific needs for a kind of quality of food have access to that food,” Moran said.
The proposed legislation defines a grocery store as a retail store for which forecasted sales of groceries account for not less than 35 percent of its total annual sales. The proposal further defines groceries as fresh and frozen produce, fresh and frozen meat and seafood, dairy products and deli products including sliced meats, cheeses and salads.