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Monday, July 25, 2011 - 12:13pm

Task Force Targets 'Food Deserts'

Updated: 3 years ago.
A new task force is trying to get rid of Georgia's so-called "food deserts". The areas are low income-communities in urban and rural parts of the state where fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce. (Image courtesy Katherine Green)

A new task force is trying to get rid of Georgia's so-called "food deserts".

The areas are low-income communities in urban and rural parts of the state where fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce.

The Philadelphia-based Food Trust identified the state's biggest food deserts in parts of Metro Atlanta. It also found them in some communities south of Macon.

Now the group has partnered with several Georgia non-profits to find ways of attracting super markets to the under-served areas.

Kathy Kuzava is president of the Georgia Food Industry Association, one of the groups involved in the newly formed Georgia Supermarket Access Task Force.

"There are nearly 2 million Georgians, including almost 500,000, children that do not have access to fresh produce," says Kuzava. "That's [why] we're trying to analyze the barriers to having supermarkets come into those areas, make recommendations and see if we can fix the problem."

Kuzava says the group will explore different incentives that could help bring grocery stores to the neglected communities.

Lack of fresh fruits and vegetables can lead to health problems like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

A new report from the Food Trust says improved access to healthy foods could help lower Georgia's more than 30 percent obesity rate.

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