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City of Birmingham establishes Healthy Food Fund

The Healthy Foods Fund has been established with $500,000 as part of the overall Neighborhood Revitalization Fund.

The $500,000 will offset the costs of opening grocery stores in areas of the city that have been designated by the USDA as food deserts. There are 149,000 Birmingham residents living in food deserts. The Woodfin administration is focused on changing that. Providing healthy food options in our neighborhoods will involve working with grocers as hard as we have worked to recruit jobs in our city. This funding, approved by the city council, can help reduce distribution costs, ensure that stores can be sustained where food stamps are often used, and help grocers bear the costs of opening a new store.

Mayor Woodfin’s Healthy Food Initiative includes the fund and a Healthy Food Ordinance. The ordinance would be an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance, providing rules on how far apart dollar stores would be located. While many of our residents frequent dollar stores, which serve a purpose to the community, a concentrated number of dollar stores in targeted areas can often drive away grocery stores which offer fresh and healthier food options.

The Healthy Food Ordinance is still being developed and will be presented to the council in the coming weeks.