A Pennsylvania lawmaker is taking his healthy eating campaign to the White House.
Rep. Dwight Evans (D. Phila.), who launched a program to bring supermarkets - along with fresh fruits and vegetables - to inner city and rural areas, was invited to discuss ways it could be expanded with top officials with the Obama administration.
Evans said the Obama administration is looking at the program - known as the Fresh Food Financing Initiative -as the model for a national effort to get fresh fruits and vegetables into underserved communities by rehabilitating or building grocery stores.
"This is a Pennsylvania success story with national implications," said Evans, D-Philadelphia. "FFFI has gained attention all over the country and I'm excited that President Obama and his team see our program as one that could be duplicated,"
Sitting not too far from First Lady Michelle Obama's vegetable garden, Evans on Friday briefed administration officials about the program's goals: to reduce childhood obesity and help residents of underserved communities -previously served only fast food outlets or convenience stores - to eat healthier.
"Rebuilding communities starts when people have access to healthy food choices," Evans said. "When we invest in gardens, farmers' markets, grocery stores, supermarkets and organic farms, we are investing in people. Children are healthier and learn better; diabetes and other diseases decrease in adults; and communities can thrive. It makes sense from a policy standpoint. It makes sense from an economic standpoint."
The PA Fresh Food Financing Initiative is a private/public partnership that has so far awarded $64.5 million in grants and loans to 69 full service supermarkets.