Local News Noise & Notes Politics

City Unveils Two New ‘Healthy in a Hurry Stores’

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.

Local News Noise & Notes

Food Advocate Questions Fischer’s McDonald’s Appearance

After celebrating the renovation of a McDonald’s in west Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer was called out by a member of his own recently-formed Food Policy Council who was disappointed in the message it sent to food justice advocates.

The fast food restaurant at 28th and Broadway was closed for a few months for remodeling, but re-opened Thursday with a celebration of dance crews, drum lines and a visit from Ronald McDonald. Fischer attended the festivities and praised the store’s owner, but a local food justice advocate was displeased enough to voice her frustration.

Responding via Facebook, Metro employee SteVon Edwards, who sits on the food panel as a appointee from the health department, said the appearance was furthering the problem of poor food options in west Louisville.

Local News

Slow Food International Postpones Decision

Slow Food International is still considering Louisville as a host city for its international congress, however, the group has postponed their decision until the next board meeting in June.

The organization works for environmentally responsible agricultural practices with a commitment to serving healthy, local food in communities. The name Slow Food comes from the group’s intent to fight the rise of fast food restaurants and its impacts on communities and the environment.

This would be the first time the event has been held in the US and only the second time it has been held outside of Europe. The International Congress has been held every four years since 1990; it’s first meeting was held in Venice.

The organization is also considering New York, Washington DC and New Orleans.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Community Farm Alliance Comes Out Against YUM Brands Food Stamp Proposal

The Community Farm Alliance is encouraging Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to reject a policy that would allow certain food stamp recipients to use their vouchers at fast food restaurants.

Louisville-based Yum Brands is lobbying the state to authorize food stamp use at restaurants by the disabled, elderly and homeless. The fast food giant believes the change would not only be good for business, but it will help those who are underserved and cannot prepare hot meals for themselves.

Farm alliance board member Beth Nolte says the change would push unhealthy meals into vulnerable communities that lack quality produce options.

Local News Next Louisville

Fischer Appoints Food Policy Council

Mayor Greg Fischer has made his appointments to the recently-created Food Policy Advisory Council, which will work to reduce obesity in the city.

The 25-member panel strives to identify and propose innovative solutions and policies to create a vibrant food system and spur economic development. It is part of a larger movement led by Metro Government in the past few years to help bring healthy foods to impoverished neighborhoods known as food deserts.

“It’s important for local entrepreneurs, farmers, community food advocates, faith based organizations, educators and others in the community to work together to create more opportunities for our citizens to access fresh, local food and encourage a robust, sustainable local food economy,” Fischer said in a news release. “These 25 individuals represent a broad spectrum of our city and they have the experience, vision, and passion to lead our efforts.”

The food council’s agenda hasn’t been set, but it’s expected to tackle issues surrounding Louisville’s lack of food security and make recommendations to city leaders.

In 2010, a city report found large swaths of west Louisville and east downtown lacked fresh produce, but were saturated by fast food restaurants, which has spawned the Healthy in a Hurry Corner Store initiative.

The Food Policy Advisory Council appointees:

  • Bill Lynch, Chef, Louisville Originals
  • Larry Brandenburg, Farmer, Harmony Fields Farm
  • Mary Berry, President, Smith Berry Winery
  • Ann Coffey, Community Volunteer
  • Stan Siegwald, Policy Director, Dare to Care Food Bank
  • Robin Kaukas, Coordinator – Family Resource Center, Fairdale Elementary School
  • Mike Bramer, Director of Healthy Actions, YMCA and Chair, Food in Neighborhoods Committee, Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement
  • Sarah Ludden, Junior League
  • James Neumann, Owner, Valu Market
  • Michael Dean, Neighborhood Coordinator, California Collaborative
  • Dawn Riley, Executive Director, Kentucky Agricultural Council
  • Ellen McGeeney, Manager, Grasshoppers Distribution
  • Jill Costin, Coordinator – Nutrition Services, Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Pat Williamson, Community Advocate, Lamp Ministries
  • Peter Thiong, Agricultural Coordinator, YouthBuild Louisville
  • Dr. Lisa Markowitz, Professor of Anthropology, University of Louisville
  • Lacey McNary, Deputy Director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
  • Cassia Herron, Urban Planner, Founder, Aunties Catering
  • Jennie Jean Davidson, Deputy Director, Making Connections Louisville
  • Joyce Lichtenstein, Community Volunteer
  • Gary Heine, Owner, Heine Bros. Coffee
  • SteVon Edwards, designee for Public Health and Wellness
  • Sarah Fritschner, designee for Economic Development
  • Steve Sizemore, designee for Codes and Regulations
  • John Hamilton, designee for Parks

Over 70 applications were submitted and were reviewed by a development team that measured knowledge, experience and vision for Louisville’s food system. Careful consideration was also made to include a broad representation of occupations, Metro Council districts and diversity in race and gender.

Funding for the panel comes from a $7.9 million federal grant. The money is being spent on long- and short-term strategies to increase physical activity, provide better nutrition and spur economic development.

Community health specialist Josh Jennings with the Department of Public Health and Wellness’ Center for Health Equity will serve as the administrative coordinator.