Bringing Healthy, Affordable Food to Underserved Communities

Uploaded by letsmove on 02.08.2011

Manuel Lozano: Good afternoon, my name is Mayor Manuel Lozano.
I am the mayor of city of Baldwin Park located in Los
Angeles County, California.
Baldwin Park is a strong working class community of
80,000 people.
Predominantly, first and second generation Latinos and a growing
Asian population.
In our small city, we have six fast food restaurants.
And a convenience store for every one grocery store.
For the past five years, the city of Baldwin Park has been
actively engaged in changing this food landscape by working
with restaurants and community partners to develop a strategy
for improving food access in Baldwin Park.
We have searched for good food retailers who have improved our
food access.
We couldn't find any.
And last year the tide finally turned and we began to partner
to bring in a new grocery store to the heart of our community.
Now with the attention of the First Lady on healthy food
access, children and our community will be able to buy an
apple near where they live and their parents will have access
to new jobs.
Make no mistake, the health of our communities is determined by
what it is.
How can we eat healthy if we can't buy healthy food
where we live?
But this work is not just about getting retail grocers to come
into our community.
It is about improving the quality of food available,
so that everyone can make the healthy choice, the easy choice.
It is also about working with the existing stores that we can
have in our community.
Many of them liquor stores that want to become more complete
corner markets with meat, poultry, and fish selection.
It is about helping stores improve the quality of their
selection so people want to shop there.
Our healthy selection initiative in Baldwin Park is making a
difference for your residents.
Finally, mayors across the country know how important
it is for the health of their children,
and for the economic health of their neighborhoods.
To make sure healthy food is attractive,
available and easier to buy.
As mayor with the help of my city council members,
I have passed the first municipal healthy food policy
in the nation and limiting the highest fat, sugar,
and sodium food from vending machines in youth programs.
Whole city business development round table calling on local
food retailers to adopt the healthy selection program,
prioritize healthy food access and more fruits
and vegetables offering.
It makes changes to the store plans and make their check out
aisles candy free.
Recognize corner stores making improvement with the healthy
selection program at the -- at the community events and at the
city council level.
Call on city staff to seek a good food retail anchor for the
downtown redevelopment project in the heart of Baldwin Park and
require that grocers too.
Create jobs and make sure those jobs are available and
attainable to Baldwin Park residents.
Improve the floor plan to make it more open to healthy front
selections and to make pedestrian friendly walkways,
breezeways and good shading leading to the -- leading to the
grocery stores making it easier and more secure for residents.
I am honored to be part of our First Lady's announcement in
support of access to healthy food.
These types of initiatives will help every community access
healthy foods, create new jobs, improve property value and make
our community healthier.
In a message from the people of Baldwin Park,
health happens here.
So it is now my honor to introduce James Gavin,
Chairman of the Partnership of Healthier America.
James Gavin: Thank you very much and good afternoon.
My name is Dr. James Gavin and I am chairman of the board for the
Partnership for a Healthier America.
An organization created to work with the private sector to help
the nation's childhood obesity crisis.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we are making meaningful
and significant progress towards that goal.
Today we move past talking about statistics that shows
the severity of the problem and focus on steps toward
a solution.
Currently, there are 23 and half million people in this country
who have limited access to healthy, affordable food.
23 million people who cannot buy produce.
Who cannot bring healthy groceries home to their
tables without great effort.
For these 23 million people all the reasons in the world to eat
healthy are practically mute.
But now with the companies who have joined us today and with
the visionary leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama,
we'll help to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Super Value, Klein's Family Markets,
Calhoun Enterprises, and Brown's Super Stores along with the
California Endowments fresh works fund financing program
will bring healthy affordable food to nearly ten million
people over the next five years in the form of new and expanded
stores in areas that desperately need them.
That represents more than 40% of everyone in America
currently facing this problem.
I would be remiss here if I didn't pause to thank Policy
Link, the Reinvestment Fund, and others for the groundwork that
has been laid for years leading up to this event.
Similarly, we would not be making this announcement today
without the leadership of groups like the Food Marketing
Institute, who along with the National Grocers Association
and others have continually pushed this issue forward.
In addition, these new stores bring more than food.
They bring jobs.
Of the 23 and half million people living in areas that lack
stores selling affordable and nutritious use food,
11 and half million are individuals living in households
with incomes at or below 200% of the poverty line.
Six and half million are children.
Today's announcement will mean more than better food
and better health.
It will mean better opportunity for work.
According to the companies themselves ten thousands of
jobs will be created as a result of this announcement.
Perhaps most importantly, the leadership these companies have
shown goes far beyond just a statement in a video.
And a press release.
These companies have signed commitments with the partnership
for a healthier America.
And it will be part of the partnership's tasks to report
annually and publicly on each of the company's progress,
ensuring that the commitments made to build and expand stores
where people need them are met.
That commitment is a testament to each of the companies we have
here today.
Their leadership has resulted in some truly awesome commitments
that will benefit millions of Americans for generations.
Walgreens is committing to convert at least 1,000
of their stores where people currently cannot get access
to healthy affordable foods into food oasis stores.
This means that whole fruits and vegetables,
precut fruit salads and green salads and basic amenities like
breads, and readymade meals will now be available to nearly five
million people who live in areas currently with limited access to
the basics.
That is five million people.
Super Value, a 140 year old company,
which has long specialized in providing affordable produce to
underserved areas, has committed to build another 250 Save-A-Lot
stores over the next five years in or around areas that
currently have little to no access to fresh
fruits and vegetables.
Just as important, the Save-A-Lot model allows them to keep prices
very low, making it even easier for people to make
the healthy choice.
Their commitment today will serve an additional 3.75 million
people and create more than six thousand jobs.
Earlier this year, Wal-Mart pledged to make the food it
sells healthier.
And the healthier food it sells more affordable and available.
Today we are delighted that Wal-Mart is continuing to
deliver on that commitment with a plan to address
underserved markets.
Over the next five years, Wal-Mart has committed to
build or to expand nearly 300 stores in or near areas where
they are needed most.
Serving more than 800,000 people who struggle with access to
fresh produce and affordable groceries.
Wal-Mart also estimates that more than 40,000 associates
will work in these stores.
It is important to note, however, that not every bag of groceries
is being purchased from a national chain.
Smaller and independent grocers are stepping up too.
Led by Greg Calhoun, Calhoun Enterprises is an African
American family owned local chain of six grocery stores
in Alabama.
They serve areas in and around Montgomery where their stores
are often the sole source of groceries in the communities
they serve.
As someone who grew up in Mobile, Alabama,
who has long known of the Calhoun brand,
I take personal pride in announcing that over the
next five years, Calhoun has committed to build ten stores in
or near areas that currently have no viable options for
healthy affordable food.
Ten stores.
Four in Tennessee and six in Alabama.
Calhoun's is more than doubling their store count to serve at
least 10,000 people who need them, while employing another
500 on top of that.
I would like Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Super Value to take note
here, Mr. Calhoun has more than doubled his store count.
(laughter and applause)
A goal that I would like to see all three of you try to meet.
Jeff Brown, of Brown's Super Stores has emerged as a leading
voice among grocery operators on a mission to improve access to
affordable food in underserved areas.
He has committed to opening a new ShopRite supermarket
in Philadelphia and expanding one other store in the area.
Both of these projects will be critical for the thousands of
people they will serve.
In addition, Jeff has founded UpLift Solutions a non profit
foundation to help grocery owners and governments navigate
the barriers to opening stores in under serve areas.
UpLift Solutions will provide exactly the kind of help to the
Klein family who will be opening a ShopRite
in Baltimore, Maryland.
The three new and expanded stores Jeff Brown and the
Klein family have committed to, will serve more than 200,000
people and create 600 new jobs for their communities.
Finally, I would like to recognize
the California Endowment.
One of the founders, of the Partnership for
a Healthier America.
And a national leader in efforts to reverse childhood obesity.
Through its FreshWorks fund, the California Endowment will
help make $200 million in financing available to new
independent retail channels and innovative food distribution
programs in California through a combination
of financing and grants.
FreshWorks brought together industry leaders like Unified
Grocers and a range of other partners,
including health care providers like Kaiser Permanente,
and financial trailblazers like the nonprofit NCB Capital Impact.
Their innovative financing model will be used to bring healthy,
affordable food to the millions in California who are currently
lacking access.
Plus, the FreshWorks fund is expected to create or retain
about 6,000 jobs for Californians.
Jeff Brown, Marshal Klein, Greg Calhoun, Walgreen,
Wal-Mart and Super Value, the California Endowment,
their collective commitments will help nearly ten million
people stop by their local store and Pick up groceries for dinner
on their way home.
They will help millions stock up for the week.
Or take advantage of a sale without having to cross a city
or a county to do so.
They will employ tens of thousands of people who need
work in their communities.
We have more than 12.5 million children and adolescents in this
country who are obese.
We are currently raising the first generation of kids who
could have a shorter life span than the generation that came
before them.
Solving this crisis is essential.
This is why the leadership of the First Lady is so critical
and why today's announcement is so exciting.
This is why the partnership for a healthier America is here.
To move beyond the rhetoric and to deliver on an implicit
promise we make to our children.
And while we know the fight is far from over,
today we move closer to our goal of ending childhood obesity.
Today we make access to healthy affordable food
a reality for millions.
Because it is one thing to know you have to eat your greens to
pursue better health.
It is another thing entirely to actually be able to buy them.
Thank you very much.
Now I would like to turn it over to Josephine Grossie,
who has been the produce manager at the SHOP 'n SAVE in Ambridge,
Pennsylvania for almost two decades.
Josie is described as the heart and soul of the department and
one of the most dedicated hard working employees at the store.
She takes great pride in her work and can be counted on to
do whatever needs to be done.
So on a special day for here, for her, she is here with us.
Josephine Grossie: Thank you. Good afternoon.
As you know, my name is Josephine Grossie and I am
from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I am truly honored to be here today to celebrate
the "Let's Move" program.
For more than 50 years, I have been a devoted wife, mother,
grandmother, and recently I am a great grandmother.
My family health and wellness and happiness was most important
to me.
As a mother, I have always tried to provide my family
with healthy meals, nutrition snacks and to encourage them
to stay active.
After all, even the youngest child to do the hokey pokey or
dance around in a play ground.
But for the last 30 years, I have also enjoyed providing
other families healthy options to meal planning.
For more than half of my life, I have been committed to my
community, working as a produce manager.
And for the past 18 years, I have worked at a local owned
and operated grocery store.
It is called SHOP 'n SAVE.
I have worked with the owner Phil Saffrin and his family
to promote and encourage health and eating options
for all of our customers.
As an example, instead of children getting donuts and
cookies at our store, we provide them with fruits and vegetables
free of charge.
Two years ago, our store benefited from a grant and
was remodeled to quadruple the size of our produce department.
We now are able to offer our customers a much wider array
of produce options.
I have seen firsthand what a more healthy option can do.
It translates to our customers leaving our store with a healthy
cart of groceries. Okay.
In my 30 years working in produce and nearly 50 as a mom,
I have seen children can really enjoy fruits and vegetables.
We make that happen; providing kids with these foods to build
a foundation for a healthy life.
Today, I have been given the honor to introduce the
First Lady Mrs. Obama recently announced her
"Let's Move" campaign.
To help bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors,
nurses, moms, dads, and a nationwide effort to tackle
the challenge of childhood obesity.
The "Let's Move" program has set an ambitious but important goal
to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within
our generation.
"Let's Move" will give parents the support they need,
provide healthier food in schools,
help kids to be more physically active and make healthy,
affordable foods available in every part of our country.
As moms, and fathers, and members of our communities,
we all need to do our part to ensure our children are getting
the vitamins and the nutrition that they need.
I am very proud and honored to introduce another mom who
believes that healthy habits are born and bred at home,
our First Lady Michelle Obama.
First Lady Michelle Obama: Thank you.
Thank you, everyone.
Thanks so much.
Please, rest yourselves.
Good afternoon.
Audience: Good afternoon.
First Lady Michelle Obama: Well, this is very cool.
I am thrilled to be here today.
And I want to start by thanking Josephine for that very kind
introduction and for her wonderful remarks.
And I have to say, I have to out you, today is her birthday.
So happy birthday.
She just turned 30 --
-- and I think that she's going to go out and party and hang
out, go to some clubs.
So we hope this has been a good way to start your birthday.
We are thrilled to have you.
I also want to acknowledge the members of Congress who are with
us today.
Thank you all for taking time to come and join us.
I want to thank Mayor Lozano for his leadership and his service.
There you are.
Thank you so much.
And I have to recognize my partner in crime, Jim Gavin.
I always know that when I see him, there's good news ahead.
So we are happy to have him, as well as the Partnership for a
Healthier America, for being here and for their role in
helping to gather these commitments and ensuring our
success going forward.
That partnership has been a tremendous part of "Let's Move."
And finally, I want to thank all of the businesses,
all of the nonprofits, all the elected officials here.
I want to thank you for your passion.
I want to thank you for your conviction and for your
dedication to our communities.
And going off-script just a bit, I would like all of the
employees who have come here today --
because these businesses brought the stars of their show,
the men and women who work in these stores --
would you all please stand?
Good stuff.
So make no mistake about it: This is a big deal.
It is a really big deal.
I think our Vice President put it better but I'm not going to
use his words.
This is a really big deal.
The commitments that you all are making today have the potential
to be a game-changer for our kids and for our communities
all across this country.
See, when we started "Let's Move" way back when we launched
it, we made healthy food financing one of our four key
pillars, and there's a reason for that.
There's a reason why we set a goal that every family in every
community in America would have access to fresh, healthy,
affordable food.
And we knew that goal was ambitious.
We knew that a lot of folks had been working on this problem for
years, and few had been able to solve it.
And we knew the conventional wisdom on this issue --
that businesses won't take the risk of investing in certain
communities, that the costs are too high but the profits too low
to make it worthwhile.
But we also knew that if we truly wanted to end the epidemic
of childhood obesity, if we truly wanted all of our kids to
have the chance to grow up healthy,
then we didn't have a choice.
We needed to confront this problem head on.
Because we can give people all of the information and advice in
the world about healthy eating and exercise.
We can talk all we want about calorie counts and recipes and
how to serve balanced meals.
But if parents can't buy the food they need to prepare those
meals, if their only options for groceries are in the corner gas
station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk.
It's all just talk, and that is not what "Let's Move" is about.
"Let's Move" is about giving parents real choices about the
food their kids are eating.
And if a parent wants to pack a piece of fruit in a child's
lunch, if a parent wants to add some lettuce for a salad at
dinner, they shouldn't have to take three city buses,
or pay some expensive taxi to go to another community to make
that possible.
Instead, they should have fresh food retailers right in their
communities -- places that sell healthy food at reasonable
prices, so that they can feed their families in the way that
they see fit, because when they have those choices,
that can have a real, measurable impact on a family's health,
and we all know that.
Studies have shown that people who live in communities with
greater access to supermarkets eat more fresh fruits and
vegetables, and they have lower rates of obesity.
Now, we know this isn't going to be easy --
nothing we do ever is.
We know that we can't just throw money at this problem,
especially not at this time.
And we know that it won't be solved by government alone or by
businesses alone or by communities alone.
If we want to make a difference in this issue,
we all are going to have to step up -- all of us.
We all have to find a way to do our part.
Solving this problem is about people like Mayor Lozano and
Representative Dwight Evans, who decided that no child should be
consigned to a life of poor health because of the
neighborhood that his or her family lives in.
So what did they do?
They started reaching out to businesses,
helping folks set up shop in communities in their area.
It's about organizations like the Food Trust,
who have been studying this issue and creating models for
how to solve it.
It's about coalitions like the FreshWorks Fund,
who have come together and pooled their resources and
expertise, and they'll be bringing small,
family-owned grocery stores into underserved communities all
across California.
And it's, of course, about companies like Walgreens and
Wal-Mart and SuperValu.
It's about entrepreneurs like Greg Calhoun and Jeffrey Brown
-- all of them are stepping up.
They decided to take that risk.
They decided to make that investment,
because what they knew was how big that payoff could be.
Not just in terms of dollars, but in the lives of our
children, the lives that we can save.
You see, they didn't do this just as executives who care
about their company's bottom lines --
and I've met these people.
They did it as parents and as grandparents who care about the
health of our kids.
They did it as leaders who care about our country's future.
And I think that Jeff Brown put it best when he said,
and these are his words, "We're not going to be on
the sidelines."
He said, "We're going to be right with our communities using
what we're good at: solving problems through innovation and
entrepreneurial thinking."
And I have had the pleasure of seeing firsthand what happens
when folks like Jeff put that innovation and entrepreneurial
thinking into work in our communities.
Last year, I had the privilege of visiting Philly,
a city where just seven years ago there were fewer
supermarkets per person than almost anywhere in America.
But today, because of the dedicated efforts of elected
officials and nonprofit organizations and businesses
across the state of Pennsylvania,
they have funded 88 supermarket projects in 34 counties,
bringing nutritious food to more than 500,000 people
in that state.
And they're projecting to create or preserve more than
5,000 jobs, often in communities that need these jobs the most.
And I visited one of those stores during my time there,
and I have to tell you from firsthand experience,
the stores are thriving.
These are beautiful, bright, gleaming stores that would make
any community proud.
And the people who work there and shop there were proud to be
part of it.
They were proud to have that kind of store in
their communities.
And they would turn in a good profit.
And we know that when these stores succeed they can serve as
anchors in our communities, drawing customers from
surrounding neighborhoods and communities,
and creating jobs for people like Josie and so many others,
and all the folks out there who are wanting to work in
their communities.
And that, in turn, can attract other businesses to come and set
up shop, which can mean even more customers and
even more jobs.
So we know the impact that we can have here.
All of us understand how important this is on so many
different fronts.
And that's why as part of "Let's Move,"
we created a Healthy Food Financing Initiative to
encourage efforts like those in Philadelphia to happen all
across American.
We can do it there, we can do it everywhere.
And this administration is committing $35 million this
year, and the 2012 budget proposes another $330 million
for next year.
And the plan is to use that money to leverage hundreds of
millions more from the private and nonprofit sectors.
So I think it's fair to say that we've got some big things
happening here.
It's pretty good.
Just listening backstage, I mean, I knew all the --
I knew the announcement.
They told me ahead of time.
But it was pretty impressive.
But these commitments we're announcing today are still just
the beginning.
We've got a lot of hard work ahead, long road, lot of work.
So I want to be clear that today isn't just a celebration;
it is also a call to action.
Still, the companies represented here today are only a tiny
fraction of the total number of food retailers in this country.
And if they can step up and make these investments,
then there is absolutely no reason why every food retailer
in this country can't find some way to get involved as well.
Can I get an amen or something?
Audience: Yes!
First Lady Michelle Obama: Yes.
So whether you're a small, local grocer like Jeff or Greg or a
multinational corporation, everyone has a role to play.
And we want folks to be creative because there's really no
one-size-fits-all solution to this issue here.
Every community has different needs and challenges that call
for different approaches.
A fresh food section in a Walgreens might be a good
solution for one community, while a farmers market or maybe
even a veggie truck might be the answer in another community.
At the end of the day, these are local decisions that need to be
made by communities, for communities.
So we need folks to go out and talk to their community leaders,
and that's, again, not just a call to action to the business
community, but to all Americans, particularly those living in
areas that are underserved in this way.
Talk to community leaders.
Get connected with nonprofit organizations and foundations
that are working on this issue.
We encourage people to go to our website,
There they can learn about other individuals and communities that
are working to solve this problem and find ideas.
Because the truth is, is that if we work together and do this
right, if we bring the kind of success that we've had in
Philadelphia to other cities and other communities across this
country, just think about the difference that we can make.
Think about the numbers of people who will find jobs.
Think about the neighborhoods that can potentially
be transformed.
But more importantly, think about the impact that we can
have on our children and their futures --
on their health, their well-being,
their ability to succeed in school and more
importantly in life.
Because that's really what this is about in the end.
This is about our kids.
And together, with these commitments,
we are happily taking the first important step forward to
helping to create the kind of future that we want for all
of our kids.
So I want to end today by saying how proud I am --
truly proud -- of what is happening here today.
I want to tell all of you how grateful I am to see you all
stepping up and being leaders in this effort.
With your commitments today, you all are showing us
what's possible.
You're showing us that we live in a country where we do care
deeply about our kids.
We do.
And when people understand the threat of childhood obesity and
what risk it poses to our children's future,
and when people realize that they can actually do something
about it, that this isn't some mysterious issue that we can't
address, we know the answer, it is right there,
then people step up.
They do what we've always done for our children.
We take risks.
We make sacrifices so that our kids can have a better life than
we had, so that they can have opportunities that we
never dreamed of.
So in the end, that is what "Let's Move" is all about.
That's what these commitments represent.
And I look forward to working with all of you, doing more,
getting more retailers on board, creating more jobs,
getting more fresh fruit and vegetables into the hands of
families all across this nation.
We are going to get this done.
We're making some terrific progress,
but we still have work to do.
And I look forward to working with all of you in the months
and years ahead.
Thank you all so much.