Pennsylvania is putting its money where its mouth is with the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, a $120 million fund to encourage inner-city groceries.
"Grocer Jeff Brown put a lot of sweat into his ShopRite supermarket in inner-city Philadelphia: He built a pork-free meat room for Muslim customers, stocked the aisles with the Jamaican and African cuisine that neighbors requested, and taught job skills to the hires new to the workforce.
Despite skyrocketing commodity prices, Mr. Brown says the store – a venture that he never could have opened without a loan from Pennsylvania's Fresh Food Financing Initiative – is making money.
Brown's ShopRite is more than just a driver of urban development. It's part of a major public-health program aimed at squashing obesity and related concerns such as heart disease and diabetes.
"There aren't any other supermarkets within two to three miles," he says. Without his store, the patrons "would probably eat at McDonald's or shop at a drug store or the dollar store for food – none healthy or fresh.""