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H.R. 4833 (114th): Food Deserts Act of 2016

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 22, 2016.

Food Deserts Act of 2016

This bill establishes a Department of Agriculture program to provide grants to states for revolving funds to support the establishment and operation of grocery stores in underserved communities.

An underserved community is a community that has: (1) limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in grocery retail stores or farmer-to-consumer direct markets; and (2) a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate.

States must use the funds to make loans to support grocery stores in underserved communities, including for:

opening a store (excluding new construction), supporting an existing store, purchasing an existing store, or supporting a store located in a community that would be underserved without the store. States may only make loans for qualified grocery stores that:

emphasize unprocessed, healthful foods; provide staple foods and a variety of raw fruits and vegetables; have a plan to keep the foods in stock; and charge prices at or below municipal averages. States must prioritize loan applications from entities that meet criteria, including:

hiring workers from the underserved community, providing classes or educational information about a healthful diet, sourcing food from local urban farms and gardens, not selling alcohol or tobacco products, or demonstrating existing supply chain relationships or expertise in the grocery industry.