A new task force is asking the state of Tennessee for $10 million in seed money to help build grocery stores in rural areas.
Renee Frazier, director of the Grocery Access Task Force told Nashville's News 2 the reason is simple, it's important to residents in areas without nearby grocery stores.
“We call them food deserts. We know in under-served communities there's no access,” Fraizer said after the official announcement Monday.
Frazier added, “Typically there are stores in the community, but they don't have access to fresh healthy food, fruits [or] vegetables. Not many perishables that they can actually purchase. They basically go to fast food, low cost, cheap food but absolutely not healthy.”
A recent study by the Food Trust found that nearly one million people in Tennessee are living in food deserts, while 200,000 of those residents are children.
David Smith, with Associated Wholesale Grocers told Nashville's News 2 the $10 million will help grocers with start-up costs.
“When we're able to solve that by reducing their operating costs the grocers are willing to do it,” he explained.
Many areas in designated food deserts have had grocery stores before that have closed down.
However, Smith said that should not be a problem moving forward in the future.
“Going back into areas simply because a business failed their years ago under different set of circumstances they are willing to do that.”
For more information on healthy eating options, visit EatWellPlayMoreTN.org.