Creating an oasis in a food desert

Sep 7, 2013

A new non-profit bank is opening to encourage grocery stores to locate in so-called "food deserts."

Those are places in cities, suburbs and rural areas with no farmers markets or grocery stores.

Jane Whitacre is director of the Michigan Food Policy Council. She says many other states have long taken advantage of a program that lends money to grocery stores to set up in under-served areas.

“It's really silly that a food state like Michigan hasn't already done this,” says Whitacre.

Whitacre says a million people in Michigan live in neighborhoods with no grocery store nearby. The bank already has three shovel-ready stores in the pipeline that want to open, in Lansing, Southfield, and Detroit.

She hopes to procure a three million dollar federal grant for the bank, to match with money from the Kellogg Foundation and other investors.