Obama officials discuss quality urban food

    Obama Administration officials are in Philadelphia Thursday for a townhall meeting about access to quality food in urban areas.

    Obama Administration officials are in Philadelphia Thursday for a townhall meeting about access to quality food in urban areas. The gathering is the first in a series of discussions on how the federal government can help cities. And the focus is on a model Pennsylvania project.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090722spfresh.mp3]

    Since 2004, the state has spent $30 million dollars toward the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, which has helped develop 68 projects across the state, including supermarkets in poor urban areas.

    Patricia Smith is with The Reinvestment Fund, which provides additional private funding for the project. Smith says the fund’s research shows that shoppers in poor urban areas buy just as much produce as those shopping in the affluent suburbs.

    Smith: People buy different types of produce based on the different backgrounds and ethnic make-up of the community. But there is evidence once the stores open up people avail themselves of this opportunity.

    Smith says the grants and loans are successful in overcoming several financial barriers toward building supermarkets in low income areas, including workforce recruitment and training as well as security.

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