Was your city on the list proposed by the NJ for funding the “food desert”?

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You may still have the power to put your own city on a list of communities that will end up sharing up to $ 240 million over the next six years in food security funding.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority on Tuesday released its draft list of the 50 communities it considers “food deserts” most in need of financial assistance.

Once the list is finalized, designated communities will be eligible for funding through the Food Desert Relief Act, which is part of the Economic Recovery Act enacted by Governor Phil Murphy in January 2021.

“We have taken a very broad approach to defining what a food desert means,” said Tara Colton, executive vice president for economic security at NJEDA. “The traditional definition at the federal level is quite rigid and doesn’t really suit New Jersey, especially given our state’s density and our reliance on public transportation.”

The availability of a nearby supermarket is important, Colton noted, but it’s not the only factor used to compile this initial list. Measures used include income, poverty level, health characteristics, crime rate and walkability.

The NJEDA list includes at least one community in every county in New Jersey. The size of the population in the listed communities ranges from just over 1,000 to around 50,000.

Some municipalities, like Newark, have more than one spot on the list because of their size and population.

Public comments on the draft list will be accepted until early February. Affected residents, business owners, advocates and stakeholders can use this form to provide feedback. Additionally, NJEDA is hosting online listening sessions on January 12 and 13 to collect feedback.

Proposed list of the food desert community (ranked by EDA in order of calculated need)

* indicates that the whole municipality is proposed

1. Camden north, center and south / Woodlynne (Camden)
Atlantic City / Ventnor (Atlantic)
Newark South (Essex)
West Newark (Essex)
Paterson South (passaic)
Camden East / Pennsauken (Camden)
Newark East (Essex)
Newark North and Center (Essex)
Passaic city (Passaic)
City of Salem * (Salem)
Paterson North (Passaic)
Township of Bridgeton / Fairfield / Township of Lawrence * (Cumberland)
City of New Brunswick (average sex)
City of Trenton (Mercier)
Elizabeth East (Union)
City of Asbury Park (Monmouth)
Jersey City South (Hudson)
Penns Grove * / Carneys Point * (Salem)
Perth Amboy City (Middle-sex)
Township of Irvington (Essex)
Elizabeth West (union)
Union City (Hudson)
Lindenwold / Clementon * (Camden)
Lakewood North (ocean)
25.
Pleasantville / Absecon (Atlantic)
Red Bank district (Monmouth)
City of Orange East (Essex)
Orange / Western Orange / Montclair (Essex)
North Bergen / New York West / Guttenberg (Hudson)
Long branch city (Monmouth)
Jersey City North (Hudson)
Jersey City Center (Hudson)
Borough of Woodbine * (Cape May)
Millville / Commercial Twp * (Cumberland)
Borough of Keansburg * (Monmouth )
Prospect Park / Haledon / Hawthorne (Passaic)
Paulsboro Borough (Gloucester)
South Lakewood (ocean)
Borough of Fairview (Bergen)
Linden / Roselle (union)
Egg city * (Atlantic)
City of Burlington (Burlington)
Town of Vineland (Cumberland)
Town of Plainfield (union)
City of Phillipsbourg (Warren)
City of Bayonne (Hudson)
City of Dover (Morris)
Borough of Bound Brook (Somerset)
Borough of Pont Haut (Hunterdon)
50.
Township of Montague * (Sussex)

The draft designations were developed in partnership with the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, with input from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health.

“We have an obligation, as heads of state and as human beings, to ensure that no inhabitant of New Jersey goes to bed hungry, regardless of socio-economic status,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. “By creating one of the most comprehensive food desert designations in the country, we are leading the nation to take the necessary steps to eradicate food deserts and remove the barriers preventing residents of our state from accessing nutritious food.”

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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