Bloomington Summit Ties Healthy Food to Economic Development | WGLT

Bloomington Summit Ties Healthy Food to Economic Development

Jun 12, 2018

A health advocacy group suggests healthy food can do more than help us live longer—it can be an economic development engine.

Illinois Public Health Institute CEO Elissa Bassler said the group aims to encourage more businesses to invest in ways to improve access to healthy food, something farmers, restaurateurs and grocers can help.

"We want to look for more of those entrepreneurial initiatives and figure out ways that our economic development systems in communities (will) value that and invest in the development of that," Bassler said.

Bassler added a lack of access to health food is more than just an inner-city problem.

"That can be in very dense, urban communities that are low incomes and that can also be in rural communities where it's 20 or 30 miles to the closest grocery store," Bassler said.

The institute held a summit with local business and health leaders in McLean County last week to outline ways to expand access to local foods through urban farming, more full-service groceries in underserved areas and expanded varieties of crops for Illinois farmers to produce.

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