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Gov. Rick Scott Signs Measure To Wipe Out Florida “Food Deserts”

Governor Rick Scott signed off Thursday on a measure from a central Florida lawmaker designed to eradicate so-called “food deserts.” The bill by Republican Representative David Santiago of Deltona provides incentives for mom-and-pop stores in high poverty areas to sell healthy food.

“The bill directs DACS – the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – to create a program designed to target these areas economically, and create incentives that will help promote access to these foods,” said Santiago.

Santiago and other bill sponsors asked for a one-time appropriation of $5 million, but legislative leaders whittled it down to $500,000. Department officials will be required to coordinate federal and non-profit programs.

The American Heart Association supported the bill.

Neighborhoods in Bithlo, Pine Hills, Parramore, and more than a dozen other areas across central Florida have been called food deserts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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