Ting announces $4.5 million in new state grants to bring fresh, healthy foods to underserved neighborhoods

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San Francisco, CA – Access to fresh, healthy food is a problem for many Californians, particularly those who live in food deserts where no grocery stores or supermarkets are located. But help is on the way! Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) today announced the availability of $4.5 million in state grants to enable corner stores and small markets to purchase energy efficient refrigeration units. In return, beneficiaries of the Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program agree to carry California-grown produce and other healthier options.

“Your address shouldn’t determine your diet,” said Ting, who helped create the program and secure grant funding as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. “The state is stepping in to ensure more people have access to healthy and nutritious foods no matter where they live.”

Without grocery stores close by, residents of underserved communities have no choice but to shop at corner markets, which do not always have the resources to stock fresh food. This void contributes to diet-related diseases and, ultimately, poor health. The Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program enables existing markets to offer residents better choices.

Ana’s Market, where Ting made today’s announcement, is an example of how incentives and support from a government program, in this case, Healthy Retail SF, can help transform a store’s offerings. After receiving a local grant, Ana’s Market installed a refrigerated case, enabling the owners, Thelma Orozco and Bayardo Talavera, to offer fruits and vegetables to its customers. The new state grant program will facilitate similar equipment purchases across California.

“Corner stores and small markets are critical sources of food in communities that lack access to healthy food. This new grant program is another element in California’s approach to improve nutrition and the health in underserved communities and it is also good for California’s farmers,” said Michael R. Dimock, President of Roots of Change, a non-profit organization that supports a healthy and equitable food system.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture will be administering the Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program, with information available on its website beginning February 28. Small businesses, cities, counties and non-profits are all eligible to apply.

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