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Health Team

Government would step in where grocers are few

Posted May 27, 2011

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— Healthier food might soon be coming to a corner store near you, thanks to an initiative by local, state and federal governments to bring better eating options to areas without grocery stores.

Those who live along Angier Avenue in east Durham can buy food, but most of it is not very healthy. A mini mart sells candy and snacks, and a diner features a one-pound hot dog.

The federal government calls places like this "food deserts."

"All the grocery stores have left, and all that people have access to is what's in a convenience store," said Sheree Vodicka, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

Find food deserts across the U.S.

Grocery stores typically carry more fresh fruits and vegetables and healthier food than convenience stores.

"If you can't get to them, you can't choose those foods," Vodicka said.

But things are on changing on Angier Avenue.

Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers opened a grocery store there a year ago. It's become part of a new state effort to work with stores to bring fruits and vegetables to those food deserts.

The TROSA store manager said that business is brisk and people are buying healthier foods.

Program provides healthy options in neighborhood stores Program provides healthy options in neighborhood stores

"The community realizes that they have access, that they have resources," said David Reese, co-chair of Partnership for a Healthy Durham.

People also get lessons on how to cook fresh vegetables from the county health department.

"A lot of people may have been raised not eating it in the healthiest way, so we're trying to teach people to cook things quick and easy," nutritionist Kelly Warnock said.

But the program is about more than improving human health. Organizers hope it will bring back some big grocery stores to improve the community's economic health.

Durham County is working with another corner store as part of this pilot project.

"Part of this is helping to create a market and helping large corporations realize there is a market," Reese said.

46 Comments

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  • beachboater Jun 6, 4:46 p.m.

    The majority of people will never accept the statement, "It is better to pay taxes, than to not pay taxes."

    Think about it. Many people don't want to pay a dime, but feel the government owes them a handout. I would guess that most people on here went a year or 2 without paying taxes right out of school, new baby, whatever. Now as you get older, you end up paying taxes, either through withholding or writing a check.

    Don't you live better now, paying taxes than you did when you didn't pay taxes?

  • geosol Jun 2, 4:38 p.m.

    This is just TERRIBLE!!! How dare the government do anything that would actually help people!! All we need to do is cut taxes and fire teachers and everything will be just fine. Right wingers?

  • bigpinkstork Jun 2, 12:42 p.m.

    Do the city buses go where there are grocery stores? (I honestly don't know--I don't live there.) If not, wouldn't it be easier/cheaper to add a bus route than to subsidize a store? I agree that people need access to real food, but if the bus can get them there and they choose not to go, then I sort of lose sympathy.

  • cwood3 Jun 1, 11:51 a.m.

    Are you kidding me?? What will our gevernment do next-recruit Gorbie???

    We need to re-evaluate what our government is doing. We are not Russia-YET!!!

  • leastwo2001 Jun 1, 11:44 a.m.

    Should people who don't pay taxes be allowed to vote? Should illegal aliens? Should people benefiting from the system but not paying into it have a vote? Should they be able to vote to raise your taxes when they don't contribute?

    NO TO ALL OF THEM, but unfortunately that is not legal, but then again why should we care what is legal when they don't!!!!! Just sad :(

  • ginaosbo Jun 1, 9:13 a.m.

    Just another case of goverments' total dedication to the redistribution of wealth in America! I wonder who will "pay" for these healthy foods to be sold to folks who are on welfare?

  • barristers May 31, 12:38 p.m.

    If a grocery store could make money there, it would be there. Guess who is picking up this "healthy" tab? US and the legislature wonders why they have a deficit.

  • aspenstreet1717 May 31, 10:46 a.m.

    I remember when this part of Durham had vegetable gardens every where. Not any more. It's much easier to use food stamps.

  • Reason85 May 30, 11:47 a.m.

    It's obvious so many of us here are not interested in the government over-reaching it's duties and spending tax payer money on efforts that will just drain the system further.

    If so many people see the issues with large government, why then do people continue to vote in candidates that simply make the problems worse, the government larger, our taxes higher, and our quality of live worse???

    Maybe part of it is that those who aren't paying into the system, who aren't footing the bill for programs such as these, who aren't forking over 25% (or more) of their income to the government are the same ones voting for candidates who put more and more burden on the productive members of society.

    Should people who don't pay taxes be allowed to vote? Should illegal aliens? Should people benefiting from the system but not paying into it have a vote? Should they be able to vote to raise your taxes when they don't contribute?

    Now THAT'S food for thought.

  • lauraleigh May 27, 7:44 p.m.

    NOOOO - get the government OUT of the picture! Too much government interference is bad for everyone!!!

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