Fresh Food Initiative Advances Without Funding

Feb 24, 2017

 

Legislation creating a grant program to generate more healthy food options across the state has received overwhelming approval in the Indiana Senate. But there’s no money in the bill for those grants.

Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) and Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) have worked for years on legislation to address Indiana’s food deserts – areas that have little to no access to fresh, healthy food. Head says getting help to those underserved areas is better for the state as a whole.

“And I think the evidence shows that when that happens, people are healthier in those areas, they have more choices and they can make better choices,” Head says.

The legislation creates grants to incentivize new and existing businesses to create more fresh food options.

The bill originally set aside $2 million for those grants – but Head says Senate budget architects removed the money, citing a tight fiscal picture.

“At the end of session, we’re going to determine if there’s money left enough to be able to do this program. And therefore you can vote for it at this time without spending a dime,” Head says.

The Senate approved the bill 42 to 7. It now heads to the House, where it has bipartisan support.