Rally to encourage lawmakers to improve access to healthy food

By Darrell Crenshaw

INDIANAPOLIS­ — Advocates held a rally Tuesday to push lawmakers to consider legislation that would improve access to healthy food.

The Indiana Healthy Food Access Coalition supports Senate Bill 277, which would provide grants for businesses that want to offer fresh foods in the areas that desperately need them.

Signage from the rally put on by the Indiana Healthy Food Access Coalition Tuesday morning at the Statehouse. Photo by Darrell Crenshaw, TheStatehouseFile.com

Retailers could use the loan and grants to purchase equipment needed for selling fresh food, such as a refrigerator.

“Creating a healthy food environment is the first step to creating a healthier population and this type of rally gives us the chance to work toward getting all of the steps completed,” Naima Gardner, representative for Indiana Healthy Food Access Coalition, said.

After passing the Senate, SB 277 has stalled in a House committee. Rally organizers encouraged those in attendance to contact their legislators and ask for the bill to get a hearing.

The rally also served to further educate and advocate for healthier foods in grocery stores and getting those stores into neighborhoods that don’t have the access to fresh foods.

According to WalkScore.com, Indiana ranks last among major cities in the United States for access to healthy foods.

“Making sure people are aware that there is a problem, but also making people aware that there are people that are working to help solve that problem, but they need as much help as possible,” Vivian Muhammad, owner of The Elephant Garden, a Indianapolis community garden.

Muhammad believes the rally is just one step in the right direction.

“This is only one component. It’s all one step at a time and this is a start, but we must attack it from every angle,” she said.

Darrell Crenshaw is a reporter for TheStateHouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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