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home : opinion : letters to the editor July 21, 2017

3/22/2017 2:25:00 PM
Good Food Access program is good move

I want to applaud a bipartisan group of Minnesota legislators for introducing legislation this year to fund the Minnesota Good Food Access Program, especially Rep. Rod Hamilton and Sen. Bill Weber who are the chief authors of the legislation.
The program is designed to provide loans, grants and technical assistance to help grocery stores remain in business, or help communities create healthy food outlets when they have lost their grocery store.
Greater Minnesota is dealing with a serious grocery-store crisis. Studies have shown that 53 out of 87 Minnesota counties saw a loss of grocery stores per 1,000 residents between 2007 and 2012.
For those stores that remain, many continue to face serious challenges, such as aged equipment, as I can attest to having purchased the Comfrey grocery store after being encouraged to do so by local residents.
But the Good Food Access Program is more than just helping grocery stores and making it easier for people to eat healthy. Grocery stores are often the economic and social center of a community.
Grocery stores bring people into town, including people who live in rural areas surrounding a community. That concentrated shopping benefits adjacent and nearby businesses.
Grocery stores and other food outlets create jobs, help revitalize communities, serve as retail anchors and spur complementary economic development nearby.
Grocery stores also can serve as an outlet for locally grown foods, boosting opportunities for local growers.
     - Mike Wegner
       Mike's Market

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