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DSLBD Partners With the DC Central Kitchen to Fight Food Deserts

Monday, April 7, 2014
Program aimed at accessibility to healthy foods in underserved communities

(Washington, DC) –The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is pleased to announce a $250,000 grant to DC Central Kitchen. The grant, which is part of DSLBD’s Healthy Food Retail Program, will almost double the reach of DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners program from 33 to 63 participating stores.

“DC Central Kitchen has been instrumental in leveraging its resources to provide valuable services to local food deserts,” said Robert Summers, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development. “Efforts such as these help promote awareness of the benefits of healthy eating.”

The partnership with DC Central Kitchen began two years ago when DSLBD funded the initial rollout of the program through a six-month pilot period.

Authorized by DC Council in 2010, the FEED Act created incentives to attract major grocery stores to the District of Columbia and provided funding through the Department of Small and Local Business Development to assist small food stores and farmer’s markets. In many District neighborhoods, small scale food outlets are the primary source of groceries. DSLBD’s grant will help DC Central Kitchen deliver 50,000 units of healthy food to an additional 30 DC retailers, providing them free in-store displays while offering specialized training on merchandising and safe food handling.

According to the DC Department of Health, 61 percent of residents of the District of Columbia are either overweight or obese. In Wards 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 obesity rates exceed 20 percent, with five of the top ten causes of death directly related to diet, physical activity, and weight status.

“Today represents a proven approach to public-private partnerships in DC,” says Michael F. Curtin, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, DC Central Kitchen. “Thanks to the Department of Small and Local Business Development, we now have the resources to expand into new neighborhoods, making healthy food more affordable and accessible to District residents.”

About the District of Columbia Department of Small and Local Business Development-The District of Columbia Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) fosters the economic growth, development, and retention of District of Columbia based businesses, and promotes economic development throughout the District’s commercial districts.  DSLBD envisions a business environment in which DC businesses are connected in real-time with local, federal, and global business opportunities; businesses navigate government quickly, confidently, and effectively; and, every entrepreneur and business with a great idea and a great plan has the capital to make it happen.  Follow DSLBD on Twitter at @SmallBizDC, or like our Facebook page  http://facebook.com/bizDC.

About DC Central Kitchen
For more than 25 years, DC Central Kitchen has pioneered a new model of using food as a tool to change lives. We provide nutritious meals to our neighbors in need, equip unemployed men and women to begin culinary careers, and engineer successful social enterprises that advance our mission while creating good jobs for the people we serve. Through job training, healthy food distribution, and local small business partnerships, DC Central Kitchen offers path- breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health. For more information about Healthy Corners, visit www.dccentralkitchen.org/healthycorners/