For The Children: Michelle Obama’s Plan To Force Businesses To Expand In Less-Profitable Areas

On Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks in the East Room of the White House about commitments from major food retailers to provide access to healthy, affordable food to people in underserved communities.

On Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama announced commitments from major food retailers to expand more than 1,500 stores in order to provide more access to healthy food at more affordable prices, as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to end childhood obesity.

“‘Let’s Move’ is about giving parents real choices about the food their kids are eating. And if a parent wants to pack a piece of fruit in a child’s lunch, if a parent wants to add some lettuce for a salad at dinner, they shouldn’t have to take three city buses, or pay some expensive taxi to go to another community to make that possible,” Obama said.

Obama also addressed the concerns from the food industry that had stood in the way of providing certain foods to certain demographics: “(W)e knew the conventional wisdom on this issue — that businesses won’t take the risk of investing in certain communities, that the costs are too high but the profits too low to make it worthwhile.”

Obama said businesses and communities need to partner with government, saying: “If we want to make a difference in this issue, we all are going to have to step up — all of us.” Obama pointed out how the Federal government is making funds available for the Food Financing Initiative, which is dedicated to providing incentives for businesses to carry out the “Let’s Move” program’s ideas.

“And this administration is committing $35 million this year, and the 2012 budget proposes another $330 million for next year,” Obama said.

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