Grassroots organization working to end food deserts

A grassroots organization is giving fresh food options to an area of Louisville that doesn't have many, thanks in part to a $100,000 grant from the Humana Foundation.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A grassroots organization trying to bring the color green to what's considered food deserts in the city. 

One of them caused by the closure of the South Second Street Kroger near downtown back in January. 

With no other options other than leaving the neighborhood to shop, New Roots Incorporated is bringing in pop up fresh markets to several corners in Kentuckiana and a generous donation from the Humana Foundation is helping.

So many remember the sight, residents fighting to keep that Kroger alive.

For many old Louisville and Smoketown neighbors, that was the closest grocery store for miles.

"When the Kroger store closed on Second and Breck, many folks walked or came in their wheelchairs, or their walkers to get their affordable and accessible fresh fruit and vegetables as well as other groceries and that was taken from those folks," Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, District 4, said.

New Roots Incorporated is hoping to help, as it continues to incorporate it's pop up fresh stop markets throughout Kentuckiana.

“Thanks to the generosity of Humana we are going to be able to do this in other neighborhoods and make it more accessible to other folks. My hope and dream is that we will be able to find a way to do this 12 months out of the year," Sexton-Smith added.

The fight for food justice is now a bit easier thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Humana Foundation and part of that investment is going towards the fresh market at Coke Memorial United Methodist Church at 4th and Breckenridge.

"We wish more people will be able to do it, more churches will be able to be involved in it because it is truly a win-win. Where else can you get fresh produce that is picked the day of and you pick it up," Shirley Burke, co-pastor of Coke Memorial, said.

All the fresh and organic produce is grown by local farmers and the timing couldn't be better.

"Hunger knows no temperature, people are hungry 365 days out of the year and we're approaching the Thanksgiving season," Sexton Smith said.

Even though the growing season is pretty much over, the outlook remains warm, to provide fresh food, one neighborhood at a time. Residents pre-pay and order their fresh produce on the Friday before the pop-ups. 

There are 14 fresh stop markets in our area, 9 in Louisville, 2 in Southern Indiana, 2 in Lexington and 1 in Brandenburg. We're told three more are planned for Spring 2018 in Portland, Chickasaw and the Berrytown areas.

To learn more, head to www.newroots.org  or send an email to info@newroots.org.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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