Proposed legislation aims to provide fresh produce to food deser

Proposed legislation aims to provide fresh produce to food deserts

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LUBBOCK -

Austin State Representative Eddie Rodriguez proposed a way to provide access to food across Texas. House Bill 1252 specifically addresses food deserts, low-income areas without access to fresh foods.

The bill proposed a grocery access investment fund program that would increase access to foods in low to moderate income neighborhoods.

According to South Plains Food Bank CEO, David Weaver, "It's a wonderful idea."

15 to 16 percent of Lubbock residents are food insecure, and 20 percent in our region, according to the SPFB. Weaver says this would benefit both urban and rural areas.

"We know that we help families in rural areas but some of the families we can't help because maybe their income is a little higher than others face some real challenges in getting to a grocery store," Weaver said.

The bill states it's mean to to raise public and private funds to develop projects such as grocery stores, mobile markets and farm stands.

"Something that would provide more access to particularly healthy food in areas that it's harder to access," Andy Black with Texas Hunger Initiative said.

According to Black, it's important to listen to the needs of each neighborhood and keep its residents involved and invested. Whether that's by growing produce or working at stores.

"Sometimes there are grocery co-ops that have shared ownership so there are neat ways of doing that and the more that those kinds of win wins solutions that have broad investment and ownership from the community I think you're always in a really good place," Black said.

While some neighborhoods may have a convenience store within a few miles, this bill focuses on access to fresh and healthy produce.

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