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Florida Continues Efforts to Improve Access to Healthy Foods

 

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) policy proved to be quite a hot topic in Florida last month.

On September 4, 2014, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services held its second annual Hunger-Relief Forum in Bradenton, FL. Over 100 people attended the event, representing various organizations dedicated to creating more access to healthy foods in our state. During the forum, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Adam Putnam, unveiled the department's new "Florida's Roadmap to Living Healthy" website that has identified the 100 highest rural and urban impact tracts in the state. What's real interesting is that the website contains a state map that  uses GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology to visualize the relationship between the lack of access to nutritious food and poor health indicators. This new resource will provide our team with a roadmap moving forward on this initiative.

Also last month, our HFFI steering committee held its first meeting and discussed several funding opportunities, policy objectives and legislative target opportunities. The coalition, comprised of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, The Florida Retail Federation, the Alliance of Florida YMCA’s, The Florida Farm Bureau, the Florida Council on Aging and the Bud Bell Clearinghouse, brings together a diverse and unique partnership. The steering committee will meet on a regular basis as we gear up for the 2015 Legislative Session.

Moving forward with the HFFI campaign, we will need every one of our staff and volunteers to be active and participating in the effort. We will need to educate communities, business leaders, faith based leaders and all other advocates so they understand the importance of creating a healthy community. Volunteers play a vital role in this effort and we will need to identify any and all willing to work with the advocacy staff to help us educate members in their own districts.

You can contact David Francis at david.francis@heart.org or call at (850) 567-0598 if you would like to discuss how to become involved in this important issue facing Florida.

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