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Kaiser Permanente Helps Supermarket Bloom in Food Desert

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 30, 2014

"But, a good solution solves many problems. The other major driver of health and a major social determinative of health is whether people have jobs or not. So, the healthy food financing initiative and the California Fresh Works fund is an effort to create more and better employment for people who don't have access to it. It addresses health from that factor too. It is what we call a co-benefit—improving access to quality food and increasing well-paying jobs for people who often don't have access to good jobs."

A Few Questions
There is a lot to like about this project, but it also raises questions. For example, will the Northgate Gonzalez pay a living wage for its workers, or will it copy the business model used by a certain big block retailer and many fast food chains that cover labor costs with employee canned food drives and government subsidies in the form of food stamps and Medicaid?

"For this project, every job [pays a] fulltime, living wage in accordance with LA City's Living Wage Ordinance and with benefits—health, dental, vision, 401k," Solomon says.

If the demand is so great, why is a subsidy needed? Why hasn't the free market responded?

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