Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson unveiled Metro government’s new “Healthy in a Hurry” initiative today, which will help bring fresh foods to low-income neighborhoods. The mayor was joined by a gallery of food justice advocates, along with Metro Health and Wellness Director Dr. Adewale Troutman, Metro Council President David Tandy and the four Meyzeek Middle School students who picked the initiative’s name.
“I know very well the important role that corner grocery stores play in our city,” Abramson said. “My parents operated a grocery and I made deliveries on my bike. Today the Center for Health Equity and the YMCA are bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to two neighborhoods that need them.”
Smoketown Dollar Plus in Smoketown and Shorty’s convenience store in California are the two locally owned grocers that will receive a grant from Metro government enabling them to offer fresh produce to nearby residents.
The two stores will share a $20,000 grant to purchase refrigeration units, display racks, new signs and other improvements. Sponsored by the Center for Health Equity and the Louisville YMCA, the “Healthy in a Hurry” initiative is aimed at providing underserved Louisville neighborhoods, often known as food deserts, where fresh produce and other healthy food choices might not be available.
In 2007, food researcher Mari Gallager found that east downtown and west Louisville residents must travel two to five times farther to reach a mainstream supermarket than to reach the nearest convenience store or fast-food restaurant.
Last year in LEO Weekly’s annual Dinning Guide we reported on the lack of healthy food options in those Louisville neighborhoods. Mike Bramer, director of Healthy Actions at the Louisville YMCA, said that less than 1 percent of the corner stores in those areas offer fresh fruits or vegetables to customers.
This afternoon organizers from the Community Farm Alliance — a grassroots organization that has partnered with Metro government to spearhead the food justice movement — will meet with Council President Tandy, whose district includes the two neighborhoods where the pilot stores are located.
Farm alliance representatives say they hope to discuss expanding and funding the corner store initiative with the hope that it will be on the council agenda this year.
Read more in next week’s LEO.