Department of Agriculture to increase aid to food deserts across Missouri

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Lack of nutrition affects one in five children in Missouri. Knowing this, the Missouri Department of Agriculture is working to increase access to healthy and nutritious foods across the state.

The agency awarded 12 projects, including the Drew Lewis Foundation, a grant to help aid in this effort.

Amy Blansit of the Drew Lewis Foundation says North Springfield is just one of the many food deserts in Missouri.

A food desert is any area where a grocery source is more than half a mile away from a neighborhood. Blansit said food deserts are typically located in low-income communities where people might not have access to reliable transportation.

“If you think about having to go to the grocery store without your car and now you’ve got to walk half-a-mile or for many residents more than a mile back, you’re only going to be able to handle so many groceries,” said Blansit. “We have a great system in the north that help individuals get to food sources…however, you can only put the amount you can sit with.”

Blansit says the grant will go towards the organization’s over-all goal to improve the quality of life in under-served urban neighborhoods.

The sites were chosen for their potential to grow and sustain the local communities as well as the health of each community.

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