Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

A Discussion on Food Access and Healthy Food Choices

Picture of fast food restuarant

Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times / August 2, 2011

By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
August 2, 2011

Anna Harrald likes to eat at Taco Bell because the hard-shell tacos are “nice and cheap and good.” From KFC and El Pollo Loco, the chicken she stores in a friend’s refrigerator will feed her for days.

The 46-year-old homeless woman, who sleeps by a canal along the 710 Freeway in Long Beach, is one of at least 141,000 people in Los Angeles County eligible to use their food stamps at local restaurants under a state program aimed at helping the elderly, homeless and handicapped get a meal.

When California launched the Restaurant Meals Program in 2004, advocates hailed it as a solution to feeding those who don’t have the means or ability to prepare their own meals.

But nearly 94% of participating restaurants in the state are fast-food establishments, and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials are concerned that the program may be undermining the goal of promoting healthful eating.

Read the full article here

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