The City of Sioux Falls will be launching a new mobile market offering healthy foods at an affordable cost.
This would include multiple buses with markets stationed throughout neighborhoods in Sioux Falls.
The city will be giving two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to Sioux Falls Thrive to pilot the “Eat Well Sioux Falls mobile market.”
One of the best things about this idea is that the group pushing this, Thrive, lead by former city councilor Michelle Erpenbach, is that they are not re-inventing the wheel, they are instituting the proposal built on proven programs used in other cities and countries.
If you watch the entire presser, you will also realize that the program is expected to be self-sustaining after 18 months. In other words this isn’t just another problem the city throws money at and forgets about a year later, there is a long term goal to make this work.
One of the other intriguing parts is that they will try to help people sign up for SNAP benefits if they need that assistance. I would go even a step farther and have job listings and access to employment and higher education opportunities.
Let’s face it, between inflation, the roller coaster economy, high cost of housing and low wage jobs in Sioux Falls we have put ourselves in this place.
I was astonished to hear in the latest financial report from the city that in 2022 over 50% of sales tax revenue came from restaurants. The hospitality industry is known for some of the lowest wages of any sector.
I’m not sure why the service industry is propping up our sales tax collection but it is proof our economy in Sioux Falls is being supported by a low wage industry. Maybe Thrive needs to look at this disconnect?
I think everyone should have access to affordable food but they also should have access to liveable wages.
Guest Post by by David Z for Mayor and Patricia Lucas
I want Sioux Falls to be a thriving, robust city with healthy citizens. Healthy citizens need a nutritious diet based on regular access to fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.
This goal has become increasingly challenging. In our state of South Dakota, one out of nine individuals is food insecure and one of every six children is at risk of going hungry. The closure of grocery stores, higher cost of food, transportation limitations, and the COVID pandemic make the problem of food access critical. Some areas of Sioux Falls don’t have nearby supermarkets – they are food deserts. Food deserts occur most often in rundown parts of a city when grocery stores move away from high crime and low income areas. The HyVee on Kiwanis Avenue recently closed creating a food desert.
A former manager of this supermarket commented on www.reddit.com that the closure of this store “will undoubtedly impact countless families and individuals who shopped there on a highly consistent basis. A majority of the clientele were elderly, disabled, and lower income shoppers who may already have a difficult time in getting to the grocery store, especially in frigid winter months … it really is leaving behind a food desert.”
This is a crisis for our city of Sioux Falls. Malnourished people can become obese, have heart disease, and suffer from type 2 diabetes. Children can suffer even more. Hunger can slow their mental and physical development. They don’t do well in school and have lower graduation rates. Hungry children often don’t reach their full potential and remain disadvantaged during adulthood. Hunger results in reduced health and that increases medical costs and expensive emergency room visits.
A short term solution for hunger is providing food access through charities and government programs like food stamps and subsidized school lunches. While these excellent programs solve critical needs, they don’t solve the whole problem. We can make food more affordable by removing the sales tax on food. City government can subsidize placing grocery stores in food deserts and thereby increase local access to healthy nutritious food at reasonable cost. Urban agriculture can provide gardeners with delightful fresh fruits and vegetables. We can support the health and welfare of Sioux Falls by investing in our citizens of all ages, sexes, income levels, and races. We improve the present and build the future. Let’s solve local hunger together.
You know my feelings on this. While the (business) community bands together to help a food bank charity, wouldn’t it just be better if these businesses paid their employees enough so they can buy their own food? I know we will never totally eliminate hunger. There will always be people who can’t afford food, such as those on disability or the elderly that can’t work anymore. But it is a sad when a working family can’t afford to buy their own food.
On top of that, the ignorance of our governor and state legislature raising taxes on food so we can pay ONE sector of public employees more (a program that is running into snags and not really working the way it intended).
It is time our lawmakers get serious about the minimum wage in our state and raising the wages of ALL workers in this state to compete with other states. Enough of selling us as a low wage state.
Of course some lawmakers still think it is all just a big joke. Our esteemed mayor took that opportunity when he jokingly said this during the above press conference about the administration building (about 6 minutes in);
“I like new and big buildings to . . . I do. Did I just say that? I think building new is better then remodeling.”
The poor and the hungry seem to be just a big joke to some people. Make sure the developers and contractors in this town stay well fed. And while we are planning to bond for a $22 million dollar administration building, we are proposing no wage increases for city employees in 2017. Better funnel some more money through the development foundation so they can give it to the food bank. Now that’s workforce development at it’s best!
large donation from a Huron couple is helping a non-profit organization which fights hunger in the state.
With a food distribution to follow, officials with Feeding South Dakota announced the $1 million donation from Paul and Muffy Christen Tuesday.
The money will go into an endowment. Its interest will feed South Dakotans for years to come.
I think it is great many leaders and philantropists are coming forward in SD to help this charity, but I often wonder if these same leaders put the same amount of time and effort into raising wages in South Dakota and raising our quality of life if it would be time, energy and money better spent instead of helping these people once they hit the bottom of the pyramid. it would also be nice if we eliminated the sales tax on food.
Like I said, there will always be â€˜hungry’ people in our state that need assistance, but let’s work harder to reduce those numbers by helping some of these people make a living wage. Prevention is usually the best cure to a problem.
I often cringe when I hear our mayor talk about the 3% unemployment rate in Sioux Falls, because when you compare that rate to how many people are receiving food stamps, something isn’t adding up. Sioux Falls is a bastion of ‘working poor’ who may have a job or several, but still must depend on government programs to get by and feed their families. Of that 3% rate, I am curious how many of these people are ‘underemployed’ or are working 50-60 hours a week and several jobs.
I challenge our finance director and mayor to give us the ‘real’ numbers when it comes to employment in SF.