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NYC Addresses the Desert in Brooklyn

May 27, 2009
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The Daily Table looks at new NYC programs to address food deserts – not the Saharan sand spreads, but the swaths of the city where you can choose between McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or the gas station for a bite to eat.

This may sound like an anomoly for a city synonymous with culinary variety, but try google mapping Restaurants in East New York for an eyeful of fast food and ghetto Chinese – for pages.

With obesity on the rise and lower income communities disproportionately affected by it, it’s critical to think about healthy food in the poorer parts of New York. So Bloomie to the rescue with two new programs that come with State support:

New York State’s Healthy Food/Healthy Communities program will create a $10 million revolving loan program to finance the construction of new markets. The state will also provide low-cost insurance for the subsidized markets, incentives for new affordable housing developments to include food markets in ground floor retail space, a grant program for the establishment of permanent farmers’ markets, and incentives to encourage food markets to conserve energy and adopt other sustainable practices.

New York City’s FRESH program (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health), includes zoning and financial incentives such as tax benefits to encourage property owners, developers and store operators to open new locations or renovate current locations in designated food deserts. The City estimates the FRESH program will help to create 15 new grocery stores, renovate 10 existing stores and provide 1,100 new jobs.

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