On May 29, 2019, a delegation from the Campaign for Healthier Solutions’ non-toxic greenback stores undertaking attended the annual Dollar General shareholder meeting in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. We had been there to insist that Dollar General phase out poisonous chemical substances from its client merchandise and supply regionally grown, fresh produce to higher defend the fitness of their purchasers, people, and frontline groups. With more than 15,000 shops, Dollar General is the largest retail chain in the United States and more 75 percent of human beings in this country stay within five miles of a store.
NRDC works in the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, a task of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance and Coming Clean, to provide legal and technical help that allows the campaign’s frontline professionals to pursue community-pushed solutions to advance a healthful, sustainable, and simply meals device—inclusive of getting regionally and sustainably-grown produce into greenback shops across the USA.
This work is crucial. We realize one in 8 human beings in this us of a stay in a food insecure household, which means that a lack of regular get entry to to enough food for an energetic, healthy life-style. Rates of meals insecurity are maximum for a number of the maximum susceptible segments of the populace, including families with incomes near or beneath the federal poverty line, all houses with kids and mainly those headed by a unmarried mum or dad, and Black and Latino-headed households. Further, people residing in food insecure houses are disproportionately suffering from weight loss plan-touchy continual diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. This is specially devastating for the more than 12 million kids represented through the ones data because not having enough healthful food could have critical implications for future physical and mental fitness. Many of those identical folks serve us through their paintings within the meals device whilst bearing the disproportionate burdens of its inequities.
And these cumulative burdens aren’t limited to weight loss program-precise conditions. In fact, a recent report from Coming Clean and EJHA that studied nine environmental justice communities discovered the maximum vulnerable neighborhoods – areas which are each low-earnings and with low get entry to to healthy foods – have higher most cancers and breathing situation danger from nearby facilities emitting toxic air pollutants.
The connection to dollar shops is clear. Many chains function in intentionally food-deprived regions, like rural groups and low-income groups of colour, and nearly half of of greenback save income come from clients on public help. Approximately forty percent of dollar shops sales are of meals – most of that is highly processed with low nutritional nice and creates additional worries for poisonous chemicals in meals packaging.
Dollar General these days introduced that it will be selling fresh produce in 450 of its shops, with the goal of reaching 5,000 stores subsequently. However, initiatives to deal with disparities in healthful food access have to meaningfully contain participants of the community, ensure culturally appropriate options, and growth local strength and wealth in our food device. Only by way of bringing the network to the table and making an investment in the neighborhood economy are we able to genuinely make progress getting families clean food they want and can find the money for.
To that end, the Campaign for Healthier Solutions has requested Dollar General to increase its clean produce initiative to consist of sourcing neighborhood, sustainably grown foods that maintains wealth inside the community, starting with a 4-keep pilot undertaking in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The South Valley is the bottom of operations for the Agri-Cultura Network, a farmer-owned cooperative that works to provide get admission to to local and sustainably grown produce and spur nearby financial improvement. Agri-Cultura Network and its network of extra than 30 farms use traditional and modern agricultural practices to improve environmental and community stewardship and fortify the agrarian and cultural history in their land and its residents.