Corner Store Dash Recap with Young Friends of the Ville

 

“Corner Store Dash” participants learn about urban farming at Bee Sweet Urban Orchard

This summer, Young Friends of the Ville partnered with the Rise STL Young Professionals Board and the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition to hold Corner Store Dash!, an interactive exploration of food equity and access in the Ville and Greater Ville neighborhoods. As a part of the event, 25 people surveyed corner stores around the neighborhood and did Supermarket Sweep style shopping for a potluck lunch.

First, the day started with an introduction to the Ville neighborhood and its history with a tour courtesy of 4theVille. We then visited Good Life Growing, a social enterprise that focuses on urban agriculture and development at MLK and Sarah. At the farm we saw their aquaponic farms, and were given kale to eat at our potluck lunch. Next we were introduced to even more community farms in the neighborhood that are coordinated by the organization Revitalization 2000. They were nice to give us even more produce for our lunch — green beans and beets!

Outside of community farms, we also had the chance to shop at some of the corner stores in the neighborhood. What we found was that while there are options for fresh produce in the area, there are still opportunities for greater access. Some stores, such as Martins, sell fresh produce but many others offer an outsized amount of junk food and other unhealthy food options. Another thing we realized that the prepared food options in the community tend to be fried foods and other unhealthy options.

We all learned a lot about both the assets and challenges facing the community when it comes to accessing health food. From affordability, to access to fresh food and the challenges of shopping for groceries with limited transportation options, there’s a lot of work to be done. Thanks to everyone who came to the Corner Store Dash — we hope to hold more events in the future!

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