City officials gathered in Louisville’s California neighborhood today to cut the ribbon on the new Farm Boy Food Mart. The store—which was vacant for years—will offer fresh meat and produce in an area that has traditionally had few grocery options.
Health department director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt says Louisville’s five “Healthy in a Hurry” corner stores, as well as the city’s Healthy Hometown Movement, aim to improve residents’ wellbeing by raising awareness about smart choices.
“In 2009, the city began this “Healthy in a Hurry” corner store initiative as a way to help eradicate some of the food deserts in the city,” she said. “We know that not having access to healthful food like fresh produce and vegetables can lead to obesity which then leads to increased risk of chronic disease.”
In the Farm Boy Food Mart on Dixie Highway, there’s produce on display as soon as you walk in. Bananas, lettuce, oranges, squash. There are also dry goods, soda, beer and a meat counter. There’s some chicken behind the glass, but everything else is either pork or beef.
“I’ve got ground beef, round steaks, roast, stew beef, pork steaks, country styles, center-cut chops, end-cut chops, pig feet, neck bones, brisket bones, all your smoked porks and bacon.”
Local resident Maurice Beckley is at the ribbon-cutting and says he’ll buy some fruit and diet soda. He’s excited about the store in his neighborhood, and says the new Farm Boy is definitely needed. But he says he’d like to see fresh fish included among meat in the pork-centric deli counter.
“I don’t know if it’s a stereotype, but it’s something that the black community has to get away from. I notice when you watch the cooking channel, they always have fresh fish. And we just don’t really get that in Louisville.”
All the stores are privately owned, but get grant funding and are under contract to maintain their fresh produce offerings. Plans are in the works to create another four “Healthy in a Hurry” stores to bring fresh foods to areas of the city that don’t have easy access to grocery stores.