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Mini Market Lupita gets boost from food access program

WORTHINGTON -- Mini Market Lupita has been awarded $38,381 by the state's new Good Food Access Program. The money will go toward newer, smaller and more efficient refrigerators and freezers, which will allow the mini market to store more vegetabl...

WORTHINGTON - Mini Market Lupita has been awarded $38,381 by the state’s new Good Food Access Program.

 

The money will go toward newer, smaller and more efficient refrigerators and freezers, which will allow the mini market to store more vegetables, fruits and culturally diverse merchandise to meet community needs.

 

“Our large customer base has been asking for a wider range of healthier products, but space has been limited due to aging equipment,” said store owner Maria Parga.

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The project must be completed by Sept. 30, 2018. Parga will report progress to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for the next five years to help the agency understand the long-term impacts the new infrastructure can bring.

From 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 15, Mini Market Lupita will host a public “Meet and Greet” where community members can thank those who got the program going.

 

The program was authorized by a 2016 bill, chief authored by District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, and District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne.

The program was primarily created to increase access to fresh produce for Minnesotans in food deserts, where nutritional food isn’t nearby. In the case of Mini Market Lupita, it could be the closest store offering fresh produce for many families that do not own a car.

 

Studies have found that access to fresh produce is beneficial for a healthy lifestyle, as those who don’t have it are at a greater risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases.

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The program received overwhelming demand during its initial application period. Requests totaled approximately $1.5 million, with only $150,000 available.

 

The legislature appropriated $250,000 to the fund for 2017.

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