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Fresh Food Fund to Combat Illinois’ Food Deserts

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State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins’ (D-Chicago) efforts to eliminate Illinois’ so called “food deserts” will receive a major boost under a new program announced over the weekend.

Due in large part to Collins’ efforts, the governor announced the creation of The Illinois Fresh Food Fund. The Fund will increase the availability of fresh food in communities that lack adequate access by providing money to independent grocery store operators and developers to create full-service grocery stores in those underserved areas.

“The relationship between access to fresh foods and health, academic performance and overall quality of life is well known, and I have always believed a solid investment in good nutrition can help transform struggling neighborhoods,” Collins said. “The Fresh Food Fund is an innovative use of capital and federal funds and a winning proposition for children and families, Illinois farmers, business owners and job seekers.”

The State is investing $10 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding into the program to help address the need for access to fresh and healthy foods in communities statewide. Additional funding for the program comes from a $3.5 million grant that IFF secured through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative and also from banks and foundations.

In addition to securing the funding needed to establish the program, Collins also sponsored the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act in 2009, which created an economic development strategy to bring fresh food to Illinois households and facilities across the state with products grown in Illinois.

According to reports, these efforts are…

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