Congressman André Carson this week proposed the creation of a new grant program aimed at improving access to locally grown fruit and vegetables for low-income families.
The Preserving Healthy Food for the Hungry Act provides federal funding to eligible small farms, cooperatives and urban gardens that wish to utilize state-of-the-art freezing technologies to preserve their harvest. By encouraging the year-round consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables, this common-sense, deficit-neutral legislation builds upon the critical efforts of food banks and food pantries to improve low-income families' access to affordable, nutritious food.
This legislation also draws upon the expertise and resources of land grant institutions like Purdue University to provide access to "quick" and "flash freeze" equipment and technical assistance for eligible producers. This initiative builds upon these institutions' ongoing efforts to promote healthy eating habits, sustainability and the development of urban gardens in underserved neighborhoods.
"All over our city, families face food deserts, areas that lack convenient access to supermarkets or grocery stores," said Congressman Carson. "Consequently, families find themselves relying instead on convenient stores and fast food restaurants for snacks and meals."
Studies have shown that diets high in calories, sodium and saturated fats increase the incidence of diabetes and obesity, which drive up the cost of health care and lower life expectancy. The Preserving Healthy Food for the Hungry Act will empower more communities to support local farms, coops and urban gardens and encourage Indianapolis residents to begin growing their own produce.
Congressman Carson went on to say, "Many Members of Congress talk about the need for low-income families to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and focus on self-improvement. This legislation does just that. The Preserving Healthy Food for the Hungry Act is a common-sense initiative that empowers underserved communities, improves nutrition, benefits local producers, and it does not add one penny to the deficit."