Citizens win commitments to close the grocery gap in Baton Rouge

Citizens win commitments to close the grocery gap in Baton Rouge


Some of you may remember five years ago, I stood in this very church at a podium similar to this one telling you my story about being a Southern University student who realized for the first time while exiting over the hump on Scenic Highway after graduation that I was living in a dying community, with lack of fresh food, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. Now five years later, the only thing that has changed is the Food Access Policy Commission. Here we are striving to win this race in the community, and the city-parish has not even got out of the starting blocks yet. This is unacceptable for me. I don’t know about you. Open dialogue is good. Obtaining the commitment, it’s even better. But dialogue and commitment with no action is useless. It’s time for action. To the next mayor and Metro Council, we need to get past just supporting but creating and funding the fresh food financing initiative. Otherwise, we’re just whistling Dixie. If elected as Mayor-President, will you support creating the East Baton Rouge Parish fresh food financing initiative providing startup funding at $1.5 million dollars to attract grocery stores to low food access areas in our community. “Yes, I will. This grocery gap has gone on too long in our community.” “Because as your mayor, I commit to you that I will work to develop public and private partnerships to make this happen.” “The good thing about Together Baton Rouge is your research. This is not something that, in terms of financing … Yes, I will support it, let me get that out first of all. It is definitely done all across the country. There is no reason why it cannot happen right here in Baton Rouge and happen now here in Baton Rouge, so yes. Thank you.” “I totally support this. It’s one of my exciting moments.” “Now, would you specifically support the $1.5 million allocation for that.” “Yes, sir.” “Thank you.” “Yes, I would support such an initiative.” “If that $1.5 million were used to leverage funding from other sources.” “If we’re using it to leverage, absolutely.” “Amen. Alright” “I, too, support this initiative for fresh food financing.” “I would support the fresh food initiative if you have higher restrictions than are showing New Orleans on the amount of fresh food you have to sell versus alcohol and tobacco.” “If elected I will support creating the East Baton Rouge Parish fresh food financing initiative providing a start-up funding at $1.5 million to attract grocery stores to low food access areas of our community.”

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