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Letter: Poppe, Sparks deserving of thanks

Representative Jeanne Poppe and Senator Dan Sparks deserve a big thank you from the citizens of this region for their work to provide funding for the Minnesota Good Food Access Fund.

The Fund was created to provide grants, technical assistance and loans to enterprises working to increase access to healthy and affordable foods in those regions of Minnesota that struggle with access to such foods. It has been highly successful to date with demand far exceeding available dollars. But funding is set to expire this year if the Minnesota Legislature doesn’t act to renew the dollars for this important effort.

The Good Food Access Fund is not only working to increase the access Minnesotans have to healthier foods, it supports small towns by strengthening rural grocery stores; it helps create markets for agricultural producers by supporting everything from grocery stores to farmers markets; it even helps to reduce healthcare costs because increased access to healthier foods decreases heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The Fund is truly unique in that its benefits are so broad and deep.

As chair of the House of Representatives’ Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division not only did Rep.e Poppe introduce legislation to increase funding for the Good Food Access Fund, she already held a hearing on it, taking testimony from Minnesotans involved in all aspects of food, health and agriculture. Sen.Sparks has cosponsored the same legislation in the State Senate. Both are true leaders in every sense of the word.

Tim Penny

President and CEO

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation