Together BR will hold meeting to address 'grocery gap'

Together BR will hold meeting to address 'grocery gap'
Friday, July 25, 2014 - 4:40pm

On Monday, July 28th, at 6:30pm, Together Baton Rouge is holding a public meeting to share the policy recommendations arising from the work of the EBR Food Access Policy Commission, a joint project of Together Baton Rouge and the Mayor's Health City Initiative. The Commission was launched in February 2013 to examine the problem of the lack of grocery stores in several communities throughout East Baton Rouge Parish and what can be done to address that problem.

More than 75,000 residents of East Baton Rouge Parish, nearly 20% of the city-parish population, live in neighborhoods categorized by the US Department of Agriculture as having "unacceptably low access" to grocery stores. Living in "grocery gap" communities has been demonstrated to have a strong correlation with obesity, unhealthy eating, higher costs for food and a strong downward pull on neighborhood economic development.

"It's been obvious for a long time that food access is a significant problem in our community," said Edgar Cage, a leader with Together Baton Rouge and a member of the Food Access Policy Commission. "With the analysis and recommendations coming out of this Commission, we're finally getting to a place where we can start taking action to address the problem head on."

The meeting Monday evening will initiate a large-scale community engagement process around the Commission's recommendations, including policy-makers, the faith and civic community, the business community and the public at large.

For media inquiries, please contact Edgar Cage at (225)274-5808.

About the EBR Food Access Policy Commission

The EBR Food Access Policy Commission is a joint project of Together Baton Rouge and the Mayor's Healthy City Initiative. The Commission is part of the Fresh Beginnings Grant funded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, a project also encompassing the BREADA Red Stick Mobile Farmers Market, the Redevelopment Authority's Healthy Corner Store Initiative and expanded physical education equipment and training in four North/Old South Baton Rouge schools.

Mission of the Food Access Policy Commission:

1) To examine the causes behind food deserts and food access problems in East Baton Rouge Parish,

2) To determine best practices around the nation for addressing low food access, and

3) To develop a concrete set of policy and practice recommendations for EBR to address food deserts and low food access.

Commission members: Dr. Adell Brown, Jr., Southern AgCenter, Susannah Bing, EBR Redevelopment Authority, Clint Caldwell (Supervalu Inc.), David Gray (Louisiana Budget Project), Ed Johnson (Wal-mart), Edgar Cage (Together Baton Rouge), Jared Smith (Baton Rouge Area Chamber), Dr. Kenneth Koonce (LSU AgCenter), Leroy Watts (Liberty Bank), Mike Manning (Greater BR Food Bank), Rev. Jesse Bilberry (4th District Baptist Association), Dr. Stephanie Broyles (Pennington Biomedical) and Ty Harvison (Latter & Blum)

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