AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- A Georgia Senate Study Committee that’s working to end food deserts is having its first meeting in Augusta on Tuesday. The committee was formed earlier this year to address 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 closures in recent years, resulting in fewer places to buy healthy foods.
People that live in these areas are often on government assistance and don’t have transportation to get to a grocery store. They rely on local convenience stores and dollar stores to buy food.
Senator Harold Jones, chairman of the committee, said they are looking at placing farmers markets in food deserts to provide healthier food options.
“One of the things we’re gonna be looking at is farmers markets and things of that nature. One things is, how do you get low income persons especially to actually access those types of healthy foods and things of that nature. From a stat level, what we want to do, is we want to look at persons who necessarily receive some type of government assistance, how do they have access to, whether it’s grocery stores or farmers markets because sometimes they don’t accept those types of assistance.”
Senator Jones said increases in food deserts affect the entire city.
“What happens is, number one it affects the persons, because first of all they don’t have access necessarily to good foods, so it affects them number one. And number two, it also affects your economy because persons who want to move to certain areas , they see they don’t have access to grocery stores and things of that nature they’re not going to be inclined to move there. And we know we have our folks coming 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 Activities Center on Augusta University’s Summerville campus.
The Study Committee will move on to speak with experts in Valdosta and Atlanta to combat food deserts in Georgia.
WSAV contributed to this article.