Little Rock, AR Establishes Municipal Food Commission to Tackle Food Insecurity and Deserts

The Board of Directors of the city of Little Rock, AR recently passed an ordinance creating a municipal food commission which will have the aim of combating food insecurity and food deserts. The commission will include seven people who will bring different perspectives – such as expertise in food retail, knowledge in agriculture, and employment with volunteers with hunger relief programs – to find solutions and help the city with addressing its food issues. 

“A study was released last year that said Arkansas had higher percentages of food insecurity than any other state,” said Vice Mayor Kathy Webb, who previously served on the mayor’s food desert task force. “(The commission) will address food insecurity in Little Rock by collaborating with nonprofits, getting citizens more engaged and hopefully following up on the recommendations that the food desert task force presented.” 

The commission will review concerns about food insecurity, the need for urban agriculture, education about healthy food awareness, and food deserts.

“Areas in which people are not easily able to access fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost, so we have areas on the east side of Little Rock, areas in downtown, areas in southwest Little Rock,” Webb said.

The food desert task force surveyed people who live in urban food deserts in Little Rock and found transportation to be a barrier for some.

“Unfortunately, a lot of residents that do live in food deserts don’t have access to good public transportation,” Webb said, “They have to spend a fair amount of their grocery money on paying friends to take them to the grocery store.”