Walmart, Walgreens, Supervalu join First Lady to combat food deserts

WASHINGTON — First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday afternoon will be joined by corporate chiefs from Walmart, Walgreens and Supervalu and smaller regional market chains as she announces a new initiative to support the Let's Move! campaign, according to a Monday posting on the blog site Obama Foodorama.

The three retailers have agreed to establish more than 1,500 locations serving food desert communities to make affordable, healthier food options more accessible.

There is no federal financial commitment to the partner corporations, although in 2010, First Lady Obama established the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a $400 million fund to combat food deserts, financed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. It was not funded in the president's 2011 budget.

According to the blog:

  • In January, Walmart made the commitment to open outlets in food deserts , when executives joined Obama to announce their Nutrition Charter. Walmart has set a target date of 2016 for establishing between 275 and 300 food desert locations;

  • Supervalu has pledged to build 250 Save-A-Lot stores in food deserts in the next five years; and

  • Walgreens has been adding fresh foods and produce to stores over the past two years, and has pledged to transform 1,000 stores into "food desert” stores.

To view the event live, at 2:15 p.m. EST, click here.

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