1. The program will be bringing supermarkets within reach of 10 million Americans.
2. 1,500 new groceries will open in the next 5 years, creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
3. Participating grocers include SuperValu, Walgreens, Walmart, and a few regional retailers. (Walgreens ?!?)
4. The plan, of course, is to sell affordable and nutritious foods.
As you may recall, Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign is all about reducing childhood obesity within a generation.While we maintain a healthy skepticism about the execution of this plan (It requires a revamped Farm Bill and an end to corporate lobbying as we know it), there is no doubt the first lady’s heart is in the right place.
All stats point to a clear relationship between access to nutritious foods and rates of obesity. According to the USDA 23.5 million people live in food desert. 6.5 million are kids. Many are poor. Some don’t have cars or the ability to drive 30 miles to a decent grocery store. So getting a supermarket into their neighborhood, within walking distance, or a few bus stops, is a very big deal.
With respect to Walgreens which is the largest drugstore in the US and NOT synonymous with real food, plans are to transform 1,000 locations into “food oasis” stores, selling whole fruits and vegetables, pre-cut fruit salads and green salads and more healthy fare.
Let’s hope the plans do pan out instead of fizzling out once media attention disappears. In addition, we hope the new grocers will reach out to their communities with cooking classes and nutrition education. Because access to good ingredients is the first step, you then need to learn what to do with them…