LISC pens Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

Michael Rubinger, CEO & President of LISC, responds to a New York Times article, which reports on studies that question the links between obesity and areas known as “food deserts,” with the following letter to the editor.

3 May 2012 - Michael Rubinger

To the Editor of the New York Times:

Fresh & Easy
Fresh & Easy, Los Angeles, CA

How much does quality food mean to a poor neighborhood?

An article on the front page of April 17's Times reports on studies that question the links between obesity and areas known as “food deserts.” Those links may be questionable. But there are other considerations.

For 30 years, we, at the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), have been working to revitalize communities in cities and rural areas across America, and we can assure you that providing low-income Americans access to healthy food at fair prices is critical.

Ask any older person standing on line today at the cash register at the Pathmark on 125th Street in Harlem how his or her life has improved since LISC and its partners invested millions of dollars in loans, grants and equity as well as leadership to get that store built on a once desolate corner that is now thriving.

People's Food Co-op
People's Food Co-op, Kalamazoo, MI

Well before anyone had defined the term “food deserts,” we understood that grocery stores, supermarkets, and, yes, a decent restaurant were essential to families in all neighborhoods and also effective catalysts to economic development. They create jobs and are magnets for other businesses.

That is why LISC has helped bring a Giant to Washington D.C.’s Congress Heights, a Fresh and Easy to Adams and Central Avenues in downtown LA and new food markets and coops in low-income neighborhoods across the Midwest.

We have no doubt from our experience that making sure a family can buy a head of lettuce, a quart of fresh milk and a loaf of bread is just as important in Harlem, South Central LA and in Southeast D.C. as it is on the Upper East Side, Beverly Hills and Northwest Washington.

Michael Rubinger
President and CEO of LISC

> Download this letter (PDF, 36 KB)

> Read The New York Times' article - "Studies Question the Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity" (Published: April 17, 2012)

Article Type: News