Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, Reverend Samuel Kyles when speaking on the assassination of Dr. King said, and I quote, "You can kill the dreamer, but you cannot kill the dream," end of quote.
Some ten years ago in this very state, a dynamic leader had a dream to fill a void in the communities across this city and state that were healthy food deserts. The facts were grim, with statistics showing a 52 percent higher prevalence for obesity in neighborhoods where convenience stores and fast food restaurants were the only food options as a staggering 23.5 million Americans were without access to supermarkets.
Equipped with the facts, a fearless leader created the Fresh Food Initiative to bring healthy and fresh food options to communities that were underserved. That dream, birthed in a small office on bustling Ogontz Avenue, has reached an even greater potential than I believe many of us could have ever imagined. Yesterday Congress produced a bipartisan agreement on a five-year farm bill investing $125 million in fresh food initiatives in underserved markets as a result of the Fresh Food Initiative. After two years of wrangling, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the farm bill, and the Senate is expected to pass the $500 billion deal possibly as early as next week.
What started out as a dream to tackle obesity, diabetes, and other health-related illnesses by providing people with healthy options and access thrust Philadelphia in the national spotlight some years ago when Mrs. Obama visited our city, took an interest in the initiative, and kicked off her nationally renowned campaign Let's Move.
On today I'd like to congratulate my dear friend, State Representative Dwight Evans, for daring to dream, for being a champion for the least of these, for realizing the economic health and social impact on entire communities when people have options. Thank you, Dwight Evans, for your steadfast leadership for having the courage to see this initiative all the way through after helping American families to bring home the bacon.
Thank you very much, and we're very proud of our leader who has done an awful lot of work in this state for families and being very thoughtful and creative in coming up with the Fresh Food Initiative.
Thank you very much.