Joined by Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and members of the Louisville Metro Council, Mayor Greg Fischer today opened the sixth and seventh “Healthy in a Hurry” corner stores in two west Louisville neighborhoods where fresh fruits and vegetables are not readily available.
The initiative is part of the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement, which received a $7.9 million federal grant last year to address the lack food security in low-income areas.
The stores are located in the Chickasaw and Portland neighborhoods, where business owners have received federal funds to improve the locations and serve fresh produce.
The Chickasaw location is the Happy Food Mart owned by Muhammad Akbar, who is using approximately $17,000 in grant funds to buy signage, equipment, technical assistance and a first order of produce. The Portland neighborhood store is the Curtis Market, which is owned by James Mitchell, who is using approximately $8,000 to expand the selection of fresh produce and to market the store throughout the area.
Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness Director LaQuandra Nesbitt says the initiative has become an indispensable tool in creating a healthier city by putting fresh foods in poorer communities.
“This movement has had great momentum,” she says. “When the initiative was started it was seen as a solution to the food desserts that we know exist in west Louisville. And it takes quite a bit of time to secure the resources to have a large grocery chain locate into a particular neighborhood and so we have to find alternative solutions,” she says.