Mayor Woodfin proposes healthy foods ordinance that limits dollar stores

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is trying to make healthy food more available to residents.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, he introduced the Healthy Foods Ordinance.

The ordinance addresses food deserts as a major priority. 

Woodfin said they are specifically focusing “on federally-designated food deserts by limiting the development of new dollar stores, as well as more opportunitites for fresh food producers, and lowering the overall costs of grocers.”

Woodfin’s proposal would limit new dollar stores from coming and must be more than a mile from an exisiting one. 

“Dollar stores not only target — but also cause food deserts. They divert customers and revenue away from grocery stores and healthy food and many grocery stores are forced to close,” said Woodfin. 

Shoppers at a Birmignham dollar tree said they see nothing wrong with being a frequent shopper here. 

“I think dollar tree is a pretty great store because you have to think about parents that can’t afford eveything and are on a low budget they can always come to dollar tree,” said Andrea Lucas from Birmingham. 

“Perhaps Woodfin has a heartbeat for something that he wants to see that would be progressive. I’m not too sure about that but I think the dollar tree is ok,” said Dr. B Alonzo Williams, a shopper at Dollar Tree. 

Councilman Darrell O’Quinn said it’s not just dollar stores that are a factor to this food desert. He said there are things the council can do to change that. 

“Currently in the city of Birmingham, its not legal to have chickens in residential areas and it’s not legal to have a garden in front yard so there are things we can do to encourage people to be producing their own food and not rely on other systems for good nutrirution,” said O’Quinn. 

Woodfin said this ordinance will also permit farmers and public markets to run longer throughout the year.

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