As the expiration of the state's temporary income tax hike approaches and budget cuts loom, family and child welfare advocates say Springfield lawmakers — and candidates running in November's General Election — should spell out what they will do to address health disparities among kids in Illinois.
While the population of food deserts may have arguably decreased over recent years in Chicago, a number of obstacles still remain when it comes to expanding access to healthy foods in the city, according to panelists who discussed the topic Thursday afternoon.
The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosted the talk in Chicago to hear from public, private and non-profit leaders who work on food access issues. Back in 2011, the committee issued its own report about Chicago food deserts, a problem it says must be addressed as a civil rights issue.
Food deserts are communities that lack healthy, fresh food options. In Chicago, African-American and Latino communities tend to face the greatest food access challenges. The Emanuel administration has worked to expand food access by bringing in new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts, among other efforts.
But panelists at the discussion, held at Kennedy-King College on Chicago's South Side, noted that poverty and high prices for healthy foods are big barriers standing in the way of eliminating food deserts.
About a dozen school lunchroom workers protested outside Chicago
Public Schools’ headquarters today and called on the Board of Education
to phase out its frozen food model and provide healthier meals for
students. Progress Illinois was there for the rally.