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Food Desert Loan Program Making Its First Senate Stop

Carl Clifford via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are again working on plans to bring fresh foods to neighborhoods where healthy fare is hard to come by.  One of those proposals will get its first hearing in the state senate Monday.

Jacksonville Republican Senator Aaron Bean is preparing to make his first pitch on how to fix food deserts before a Senate agriculture panel.  His idea aims at leveraging existing businesses—offering financing so they can expand fresh food offerings.

“Stores that potentially could sell the stuff could get a loan—that they would pay back—to make the transition in their store to be able to sell those fresh fruits and vegetables,” Bean says.  “Maybe they need like refrigeration or storage or shelving or whatever it is.”

He says the potential impacts are great.

“One in three Floridians is overweight or face malnutrition in some form or fashion,” Bean says, “and it’s because they don’t have access to healthy fruits, fresh vegetables, it’s just not an option for them.”

Bean says he doesn’t expect any opposition, but drawing attention is always hard with so many other pieces of legislation out there.  A companion measure has already passed its first committee in the House. 

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.