SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Grocery stores located in food deserts would be eligible for grants from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity under legislation passed by state Rep. Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights.

“Poor access to affordable, healthy foods contributes to poor nutrition and perpetuates health disparities, leading to higher rates of obesity and other chronic ailments. Food deserts are primarily found in Black and brown communities and low-income communities, perpetuating a cycle of poor health outcomes for our most vulnerable residents,” Canty said. “Incentivizing grocery store development in food deserts helps to prevent chronic illness and combat the negative health outcomes associated with food insecurity, especially for low-income and historically marginalized communities.”

Food deserts are geographic areas where residents have few to no convenient options for secur­ing afford­able and healthy foods — especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Senate Bill 850 requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, subject to appropriation, to provide grants and other forms of financial assistance to privately-owned grocery stores, co-operatives, non-for-profit grocery stores, and grocery stores owned by a unit of local government, school district, or community college district located in or to be located in a food desert. The bill also provides for a study of food insecurity in urban and rural food deserts.

“Food deserts touch every area of the state, including rural, urban, and suburban areas. Everyone, no matter their race, background, financial circumstance, or zip code deserves access to nutritious food,” Canty said. “I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing this important legislation, and I urge the Governor to sign the bill and reduce food insecurity across the state.”

Senate Bill 850 passed the House with bipartisan support. For more information on Canty’s legislative agenda, please visit www.ilga.gov.

Rep. Mary Beth CantyRep. Mary Beth Canty

(D-Arlington Heights)
54th District

Springfield Office:
280-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8026

District Office:
12 E Northwest Highway
Arlington Heights , IL 60004