Bringing Healthy Foods to Food Deserts

07/21/2011 05:16 pm ET | Updated Sep 20, 2011

Actor and activist Wendell Pierce is heeding First Lady Michelle Obama's call to prevent food deserts across the nation. Private equity entwined with public dollars are helping to create four new green grocer stores in low income New Orleans' neighborhoods. The action is a result of the Let's Move campaign.

The New Orleans native best known for his work in the HBO series Treme and The Wire is one of three partners of a group cutting into food deserts in the Big Easy. Almost six years after Katrina, the Lower Ninth Ward will receive one of the first Green Grocers stores. The Lower Ninth Ward was one of the most visual pictures of Katrina's devastation resulting from levee breaks.

Pierce contends the effort is a "model and a template" for other stores he is planning. He feels this is a slice in the pie to bring healthy food to communities in need, instead of folks traveling "30 to 45 minutes" away for fresh produce.

Wednesday, in the East Room of the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the president is behind her efforts preventing. There is a 35 million dollar commitment this year from the administration and a 330 million dollar proposal in the 2012 fiscal budget. Once Mrs. Obama revealed the numbers she asked, "Can I hear an Amen?"

The First Lady says the funding is meant to "leverage hundreds of millions more from the private and non profit sectors" to end food deserts across this country.

During the event, Mrs. Obama divulged many low income community grocery stores can be "three city bus rides away." The first lady believes promoting healthy eating with more fruits and vegetables helps with the quality of life for our children.