Tag: food desert

Jefferson County Targets ARPA Funds Against Food Desert

UPDATED — A Jefferson County allocation of ARPA funds could provide healthier grocery options for residents along the U.S. 78 corridor.

County commissioners on Thursday approved spending American Rescue Plan Act funds to address food insecurities. The pilot program supports a food pantry to create a low or no-cost grocery store.

Federal funds totaling $472,782.96 will enhance a program that’s in place and sponsored by Daniel Payne Legacy Village Foundation.

“It’s focused on areas where there’s no grocery store,” County Manager Cal Markert said. “If you’ve only got Dollar Generals and gas stations, there aren’t as many fresh fruits and vegetables. This will kind of try to supplement that and get packages of more healthy foods for families to have.” Read more.

JVTF Gets $805K From City to Teach Students About Farming and Food

The Birmingham City Council has allocated $805,000 toward increasing the Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s presence in Birmingham City Schools.

The money will go toward the nonprofit’s wide-reaching Good School Food educational program, which is intended to foster skills in and appreciation for farming and the culinary arts in BCS students. The new funding will expand the JVTF’s capacity to host field trips and weeklong camps and will expand JVTF’s internship and apprenticeship programs. Read more.

Birmingham Council OK’s Plan to Bring Grocery Store to Five Points West

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve an incentives package for a new Food Giant supermarket in the city’s Five Points West area.

The store will be located at 2257 Bessemer Road, the former location of a Winn-Dixie store that shut down in 2018 after the chain filed for bankruptcy. In 2020, former NFL player Karlos Dansby announced plans to open a new grocery store in that location, but those plans fizzled ignominiously.

Food Giant, owned by the Albertville-based Mitchell Grocery Corp., will receive $640,000 from the city for property improvement, in particular to divide the existing 50,000-square-foot building into two units; the Food Giant will take up only an estimated 22,000 square feet. Read more.

Birmingham to Spend $2 Million to Recruit Grocery Stores to Underserved Areas

The office of Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has announced a $2 million grocery store recruitment plan focusing on West Birmingham and other underserved communities. The plan will be funded out of $12.9 million recently recovered from the refinancing of the city’s Commercial Development Authority bond debt. According to a press release, the money will be used “to lure at least two” grocery store chains to the city. Read more.

Birmingham Loan ‘Saves’ Woodland Park Save A Lot

The Birmingham City Council approved a loan and incentives program Tuesday that will keep the Woodland Park neighborhood’s Save A Lot location from closing. The city will provide the store, at 873 Dennison Avenue SW, with a 24-month loan not to exceed $1,000,000 at 3% interest. It also will give the company up to $750,000 in tax rebates over the next 10 years. The money will go toward renovations, inventory changes and new staff positions. Read more.

Birmingham Council Approves Incentives Package to Bring Grocery Store to District 1

The Birmingham City Council has approved an incentives package to bring a new grocery store to the city’s Roebuck neighborhood as part of a larger initiative to reduce food deserts in Birmingham.

The agreement will include an initial payment of $200,000, then up to an additional $1.6 million, based on the store’s performance, spread out over seven years.

The store, tentatively named The Price Butcher, will be at 1125 Huffman Road, the former location of a Sav-A-Lot, and will “double the amount of fresh produce in the area (and) double the sales area for meat,” Josh Carpenter, the city’s director of innovation and economic opportunity, told the council during a Monday night committee meeting. “It’s going to expand the food options for the citizens of District 1.” Read more.

Birmingham Council Chips in on East Lake Grocery Revamp as Part of Battle Against Food Deserts

Birmingham Council Chips in on East Lake Grocery Revamp as Part of Battle Against Food Deserts

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve a slate of economic incentives for one East Lake grocery store, continuing the Woodfin administration’s pledge to work toward eliminating food deserts in the city.

Village Market, located at 7737 Second Ave. S., will receive up to $865,000 in incentives from the city, which will allow for “substantial improvements” in the store, “to include upgrades in the refrigeration and point-of-sale equipment, painting, rebuilding the cash office, adding new storefront signage, installing new shelving units, gondolas, replacing the motor room and providing additional security,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

The city will pay the first $200,000 of those incentives up front out of the city’s Healthy Food Fund. That fund, specifically focused on providing incentives to grocery stores, was created by the council in May and was initially allocated $500,000; Village Market is the first store to receive money from the fund. Read more.

Getting by in Food Deserts: Mobile Grocery Stores, Neighborhood Farms Help Residents Find Fresh Food

Roland Washington checked off the names of his neighbors who had come to buy groceries at the mobile store that twice a month visits his apartment complex near Tarrant, an area of Birmingham that has few to no options for fresh food.

The mini crowd-control task for which Washington volunteers his time is managing the people who come to take advantage of the wholesale-priced fresh produce, meat and other food provisions sold on a first come-first serve basis. He makes sure no more than a few people enter the trailer at a time.

For Washington and his neighbors, that mobile grocery store is the difference between getting fresh vegetables and fruits or not. The Corner Market, the mobile grocery store run through a program of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, is an initiative aimed at relieving the difficulties faced by people who live in food deserts. Food deserts are defined as areas where at least 500 people live more than half a mile from a full-service grocery store.

The lack of access to fresh food is a problem faced by people across the world. About 23.5 million people in the U.S. live in food deserts, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Nearly half of them are low-income.

Closer to home, almost 2 million people in Alabama live in food deserts, according to a 2015 report on food access by the The Food Trust. In Jefferson County, that number is 205,657.

In Birmingham, 69 percent of residents live far enough away from a grocery store to make it difficult for them to obtain fresh food, Mayor Randall Woodfin told the City Council in a meeting this spring. He said part of all nine council districts exist in a food desert.
The Corner Market and other mobile grocery stores are one way communities are trying to alleviate the difficulties for people who live in food deserts. Read more.

New Grocery Delivery Program Aims to Curb Senior Hunger

Alabama ranks poorly when it comes to food insecurity among seniors. In Jefferson County alone, more than 129,000 older adults struggle with hunger. A new grocery delivery program through the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama aims to improve seniors’ access to healthy food.

Under the program, eligible seniors will receive 30 pounds of dry goods, canned fruits and vegetables, and fresh cheese delivered to their homes each month. The program is aimed at seniors who can’t afford to buy groceries or who live in areas where it’s difficult to find healthy food. Jamie McLynn, director of partnerships at the food bank, says seniors often have to make tough decisions. Read more.