New Food Access Portal hopes to empower solutions for Philadelphia's food deserts

Image via healthyfoodaccess.orgParents, teachers, and policymakers all seem to tell us that a healthy lifestyle is just a decision away. But eating right, or not, isn’t always a choice. Limited access to grocery stores and lack of transportation have left many lower-income Americans living in “food deserts,” where healthy, wholesome food is hard to find.

To help combat the spread of these “food deserts,” Philadelphia do-gooders The Food Trust and The Reinvestment Fund have partnered with PolicyLink to create a powerful new online resource, the Healthy Food Access Portal. The Portal, which launched last week, acts as a national information clearinghouse for organizations interested in creating retail solutions for communities to gain access to safe, fresh food. These solutions can include corner stores, farmers markets and mobile produce trucks. The Portal is designed to empower entrepreneurs by providing information on grants and investment opportunities, business models of successful food-retail enterprises, and tips on retail strategy.

In addition to listing nationwide food access events, the Portal is hosting webinars on a variety of topics. The first of these hour-long webinars will be held this Wednesday, March 6, at 10:30 a.m. and will serve as an introduction to the field of healthy food access. It will feature speakers from each of the Portal’s three founding organizations who will make the case for the economic and social benefits of retailing healthy food in underserved areas.

Whether you’re looking to revitalize your community and want to share your experiences through the Portal’s open discussion forum, or are simply interested the field of food access, take some time today to check out the new Healthy Food Access Portal.

Registration for Wednesday’s webinar can be found here.

ALEX JACOBS is the Grid intern for spring 2013. He is a junior history major at Haverford College.