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Norfolk creates fund to combat city's food, health disparities

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 18:58:36-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The City of Norfolk has created a nutritional equity fund to combat food and health disparities among Norfolk residents.

City Manager Dr. Chip Filer announced the creation of the Norfolk Nutritional Equity Fund Monday.

The new fund will:

  • Provide grant incentives to operators willing to open grocery stores in areas of Norfolk classified as a food desert
  • Provide training and incentives to individuals interested in entering the grocery industry
  • Provide grants to smaller stores for equipment purchases or store renovation that allows the market to sell fresh produce
  • Provide grants to organizations and/or individuals to establish mobile markets, farm stands or co-ops bringing convenient access to fresh fruits, vegetables and pantry staples to mobility-challenged and elderly residents

The Department of Economic Development will manage the Nutritional Equity Fund.

During a press conference Monday, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced the Tribe is contributing $150,000 in financing to help bring a grocery store to the St. Paul's area. The neighborhood has been considered a food desert since the Save A Lot grocery store left in June.

“Everyone should have consistent access to healthy food. We recognize that the current economic crisis is increasing hunger in our communities, and too many of our residents are grappling with the instability and unpredictability that is accompanied by food insecurity. We are building partnerships to confront root causes of food insecurity in Norfolk and are very grateful for the leadership of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in supporting this effort,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.