Public invited to change North Baton Rouge food desert

While North Baton Rouge residents have long complained about being cut off from fresh affordable food markets, a new 13-member food commission is working toward improving the supply in food deserts.

The commission meets again 10am, Thursday, March 14, at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, 6767 Scenic Hwy.

Members of the commission said they paid attention to community residents who expressed a need for healthy food.

Organizations with Together Baton Rouge and Health City’s Initiative’s Fresh Beginning Program were brought together, which lead to the birth of the food commission. This project was funded under a $1 million federal grant.

Members of the commission include representatives from Southern University Ag Center, Louisiana Budget Project, Wal-Mart, LSU College of Architecture Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and Liberty Bank.

The commission meets on the second Thursday of the month in order to package policy recommendations by the end of the year. The public and residents are asked to attend.

Stephanie Broyles, a food commission member and an assistant professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, mapped out different grocery stores throughout Baton Rouge and pinpointed certain areas that were deemed as food deserts, or pocket communities more than a mile away from the nearest grocery store.

According to studies, out of 75,000 residents that live in Food Desert areas, there are more than 16,000 children.“When you look at the population of the parish, really about a quarter of the population lives in a food desert,” Broyles said.

The commission will examine causes behind food deserts in East Baton Rouge parish; determine different ways towards attracting retail and quality food providers to food desert communities; and recommend solutions where concrete policies are developed and practices are recommended towards addressing food deserts in not only the East Baton Rouge parish but other areas as well.

Members of this commission will separate to smaller, separate commissions and figure out the causes behind Baton Rouge’s food deserts and find different paths and solutions towards the issues. Some will deal with identifying the areas for future grocery stores and others will formulate different options towards addressing the food deserts.

by James Teague
Contributing Writer

2 Responses to “Public invited to change North Baton Rouge food desert”
  1. Eileen B. Kennedy says:

    What time is the meeting tomorrow @ Mt. Pilgrim?

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