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Policy Efforts to Watch: Healthy Food Small Retailer Act
The Healthy Food Small Retailer Act, introduced in both the North Carolina House and Senate in March 2015, would encourage grocery and corner store owners across the state to carry more healthy food options in underserved areas. The North Carolina Alliance for Health has been advocating for this legislation, which would appropriate $1 million in the state budget to establish a program that provides resources and technical assistance to grocery store owners to ensure fresh, healthy food options remain available and affordable to residents in the state’s most distressed areas. This includes helping stores get equipment and shelving to display and stock fresh produce. The Healthy Food Small Retailer Act would provide both health and economic benefits by also helping local farmers gain access to new markets. The lack of grocery stores in low- and moderate-income areas is a major barrier for healthy food access in local North Carolina communities.
Earlier this year, the North Carolina Alliance for Health released a poll finding broad public support for the measure which received significant attention from the media.
In June 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly included in this year's final state budget $250,000 towards the creation of a statewide Healthy Corner Store Initiative, housed in the Department of Agriculture. For up-to-date information about the progress of ongoing advocacy of this effort, visit here.
For more information on how to advocate for and create a state or local healthy food financing Initiative: The Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation.