Holden pushes to make healthy foods more accessible

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden capped off his trip to Washington, D.C., this week with a presentation on making healthy food more accessible.

Holden touted Healthy BR during a meeting Friday of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Food Policy Task Force.

Healthy BR was launched five years ago as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Healthy Cities Initiative and has been working to address “food deserts” — areas with limited access to fresh and healthy foods — through regular mobile farmers markets.

“The mayor also discussed Healthy BR’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative, which encourages small businesses in those areas to offer fresh produce and other healthy food choices,” according to a news release from his office.

On Thursday, mayors from the conference traveled to the White House for a series of policy discussions with President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet, followed by a reception. Videos of some of their remarks are available on C-SPAN and from the Conference of Mayors. Holden’s presentation wasn’t available online.

Topics included education, workforce development and health care.

Cabinet members who spoke at the mayors’ meeting include Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged mayors to support the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.