Town halls held to talk healthy food access

Town halls held to talk healthy food access

L’ANSE — Advocates from the American Heart Association are visiting the U.P. to advocate for healthy food access. With more, here’s ABC 10’s Sarah Mac.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that in Michigan alone there are 2.1 million residents who lack healthy food access, a quarter of whom are children. That means these residents do not have a grocery store, farmer’s market, or food co–op in their neighborhood.

Campaign Manager for the American Heart Association Ted O’Dell says, “There are people all over Michigan who are challenged to get healthy food, or access to those healthy foods. You may not have a grocery store in your neighborhood, you may have a corner store, or a gas station or a small bodega.”

Studies show that this lack of proper nutrition, especially in children, could lead to obesity and forms of heart disease.

Which is why advocates from the American Heart Association are reaching out to communities across the state through town hall meetings to raise awareness and hopefully support for House Bill 5180. This proposed piece of legislation would help businesses like corner stores and gas stations sell healthier foods to the residents who need it.

“We are advocating in the state legislature right now for an additional appropriation into the Michigan Department of Agriculture,” O’Dell adds, “and then those smaller businesses can then access those monies through low interest loans or grants to have the capacity and ability to carry additional fruits and vegetables.”

The American Heart Association says that other states like Pennsylvania and Louisiana have had success with similar campaigns, which brought healthier foods and jobs to its residents.

Town halls were held Wednesday in L’Anse, and there will be a town hall Thursday morning and evening in Marquette.

For more information on the American Heart Association click here.

If you would like to attend the town hall(s) in Marquette here is the information:

Thursday, January 21st
Marquette Board of Commissioners,
234 W. Baraga Avenue Marquette
Room 41
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM