Lawmaker wants more access to food in urban neighborhoods

A central Indiana lawmaker wants to provide better access to healthy food to inner-city Hoosiers with legislation to promote urban farms, food-co-ops and farmer’s markets.

“One of the biggest complaints I get when I go door-to-door is that there aren’t any grocery stores in urban neighborhoods anymore,” said Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis.

Moed said the closure of many grocery stores in urban neighborhoods means that many people only have access to food at local drug stores or gas stations that don’t offer healthy options.

He hopes House Speaker Brian Bosma will assign the bill to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, where he is the only urban member. He said he wants to create a conversation “that’s probably not been had because most of the people on that committee represent very rural areas.”

Agriculture Committee Chairman Don Lehe, R-Brookston, declined to comment on the proposals because they have not been put into legislation.

Because Indiana is an agricultural state, Moed said he hopes that people in urban areas can learn how to grow food in their communities and create more food options. Purdue University is a good resource for learning such information.

Whitney Fields, a program manager for The Indy Food Council – a group of food system stakeholders who seek solutions to food sourcing problems – said in a written statement that “improving quality food access contributes to the quality of life for our residents and should have high priority.”

“I believe these proposals will help build on the progress we’ve made over the past two years to strengthen neighborhoods across our state,” Moed said.

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