Legislation to increase healthy food access may be considered by Indiana lawmakers again this year.
About one-third of Indiana counties have one or more food deserts, an area with little availability of affordable, healthy food.
For the past few years Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) has led the push to fund healthy food programs in Indiana. She says lawmakers have been hesitant to advance past bills.
"They don’t know if the state should be involved, how much should the state be involved," says Shackleford. "We’ve studied it a couple times, we’ve had a coalition built now of different health providers, hospitals."
The bill would provide grants or loans to projects like food markets, farms or distribution initiatives to address healthy food access in underserved communities.
Shackleford says the issue is linked directly to Indiana’s poor health outcomes.
"When you’re talking about not having access to food and low income, this stems a lot of those health issues, so whether it’s diabetes, obesity, heart disease," says Shackleford.
It has yet to be heard by a committee.