Georgia Senate study committee meets to discuss food desert issue
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A Georgia Senate study committee working to end food deserts holds its first meeting in Augusta on Tuesday. The committee was formed earlier this year to tackle food deserts in Georgia.
A “food desert” is a community or area with limited availability of healthy and affordable food choices.
Augusta has seen an increase in grocery store closings in recent years, which has reduced the number of places to buy healthy food.
People who live in these areas are often assisted by the government and do not have transportation to get to the grocery store. They rely on local convenience stores and dollar stores for food.
Senator Harold Jones, chairman of the committee, said they are considering placing farmers’ markets in food deserts to provide healthier food options.
“One of the things we’re going to look at is farmers’ markets and things of that nature. One thing is how to make sure that low income people, in particular, actually have access to these types of healthy foods and things of that nature. From a statistical point of view, what we want to do is look at the people who necessarily receive some form of government assistance, what do they have access to, whether it’s grocery stores or farmers’ markets, because sometimes they don’t accept these types of help.
Senator Jones said the increase in food deserts affects the entire city.
“What happens is that in the first place it affects people, because first of all, they don’t necessarily have access to good food, so it affects them in the first place. And secondly, it also affects your economy because people who want to move to certain areas see that they don’t have access to groceries and things of that nature that they won’t be inclined to move there. And we know our people are from cyber, we want them to be able to move to the Augusta area. “
The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Jaguars Student Activity Center on the Summerville campus of Augusta University.
The study committee will then meet with experts from Valdosta and Atlanta to combat food deserts in Georgia.
WSAV contributed to this article.