CUSTIS: FOOD DESERT A MAN-MADE DISASTER
New Mayor Needs to Act Immediately;
Will Utilize State’s Program to Attract Full-Service Supermarket in First Term
(CAMDEN, NJ) – Mayoral candidate Elton Custis today declared Camden’s food desert a man-made disaster, saying he’ll utilize the state’s new tax incentive program to solve a decades-old problem that cost Camden residents dearly.
“Camden’s food desert is a man-made problem,” said Elton Custis, a member of the Camden City School District Advisory Board. “We can change the disaster and fix the food desert — but first we must change who’s running City Hall. That’s why I’m running.”
The city of Camden hasn’t had a full-service supermarket since Pathmark shuddered its doors in September of 2013. Since then, Camden has had the label “food desert” placed over her.
“For nearly a decade, the men who run and control Camden have prevented our residents from having access to fresh meats and produce,” said Custis. “Why? There’s only one answer: because it serves their political agenda.”
“The same men that are backing Vic Carstarphen are the same men that created this man-made disaster of a food desert,” said Custis. “You cannot say you are going to speak truth to power without actually speaking truth to power.”
“When elected mayor, on my first day in office I will meet with the chair of the Economic Development Authority to discuss making Camden’s food desert their number one target for their new tax incentive program,” said Custis. “If we’re going to do big things, then we need to think big.”
Custis’ comments refer to the Food Desert Relief Program signed into law on January 7, 2021. Under the program, the EDA will provide up to $40 million per year for six years in tax credits, loans, grants, or technical assistance to address the food security crisis and develop new approaches to alleviate food deserts.
According to a 2018 analysis, nearly 880,000 New Jersey residents have limited supermarket access, Camden falling within that category.
Custis and his team, Carmen Lozada-Cooper, Hector Rojas, and Carla Benson for council, are running on a Residents First agenda.