Got fresh food? Florida wants to add more grocery stores

Published: March 3, 2016 12:02 PM EST
Updated: March 3, 2016 12:46 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida may set up a pilot program aimed at bringing grocery stores to areas that don’t have access to fresh food.

The Florida House unanimously passed a bill Thursday authorizing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to set up a program that offers grants and loans for businesses to open in so-called “food deserts.” These are usually low-income neighborhoods served only by convenience stores or fast food restaurants.

First Lady Michelle Obama launched an initiative in 2011 to improve access to fresh food as part of a strategy to battle obesity.

The Associated Press reported last year major grocers avoid America’s food deserts instead of trying to turn a profit in high-poverty areas.

The bill includes $500,000 for the program. The measure heads to the Senate which is considering a similar bill.