Groups in Richmond are working to improve access to healthy food

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The American Heart Association and elected officials worked today to improve access to healthy food.

The group gave a tour on the city’s East End, showing just how hard it is for residents to get groceries.

The AHA says that 40 percent of Richmond’s population lives in a food desert with only access to corner stores. They say today, they’re trying to raise awareness for what is a very serious problem

“Growing up we had grocery stores in the neighborhood,” resident Glynnys Fleming said.

Fleming said that finding food was never a problem in her childhood as grocery stores were everywhere, but in recent years, it’s become a lot more difficult.

“Nothing in the city limits or near my neighborhood, other than corner stores and I typically don’t shop in the corner stores because they don’t have the fresh fruits, vegetables that I would like to have,” Fleming said.

Today, the American Heart Association, state and locally elected officials and members of the public took a tour on the east end of Richmond to see the challenges facing residents first hand when it comes to finding food. With just a few corner stores that don’t sell fruit or vegetables in walking distance. Fleming says she’s lucky to have a car but says others aren’t as fortunate.

“We are probably about four blocks away from a bus line, so it makes it a little more challenging for my neighbors,” she said.

Virginia Delegate Delores McQuinn was in attendance.

“We want to make certain that people are understanding how important it is to have healthy foods and have access to that,” McQuinn said.

Delegate McQuinn has been working on the issue on the state level, calling on her colleagues to do more.

“We are certainly working on the Virginia grocery and investment fund, and asking for resources from the General Assembly to help us support areas like the east end and other areas as well across the state,” McQuinn said.

McQuinn and Fleming agree that healthy food is key to helping the community.

“Without it, we’re not going to live as long and I know for a fact, that healthy eating is the way to go,” Fleming said.

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