Friday September 24, 2010
Funding from federal grant to Healthy Hometown Movement Helps Bring Fresh Produce to Shawnee Neighborhood
According to a 2009 survey of more than 6,000 homes, people living in the Shawnee Neighborhood said they would eat more fruits and vegetables if stores in the neighborhood offered them. Thanks to funding from a Community Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant awarded to the Healthy Hometown Movement, fruits and vegetables will now be readily available.
Mayor Jerry Abramson and Public Health and Wellness director Dr. Adewale Troutman today celebrated the launch of Louisville’s second Healthy in a Hurry Corner Store located inside the Shawnee Market at 228 Amy Ave. in the French Plaza.
The store, which is owned by Akram Ali Al-Abed, utilized $20,000 of CPPW grant funds to purchase refrigeration units, display racks, new signs and construction improvements. The improvements are coordinated by the Healthy in a Hurry initiative of the Healthy Hometown Movement and its partner, the YMCA.
The Healthy in a Hurry program makes it possible for grocers in underserved Louisville neighborhoods, often known as food deserts, to carry fresh produce and other healthy foods that might otherwise not be available. This is Louisville’s second Healthy in a Hurry store. The Dollar Plus at 755 S. Preston has been a Healthy in a Hurry location since January of 2009.
“It is exciting to see this focus on good nutrition grow and expand,” Abramson said. “My parents operated a grocery and I saw what a community center it could be. There is no better place to help change lifestyles and encourage healthier food choices than at the point of purchase.”
As part of the program, stores receive start-up produce and technical assistance. The Center for Health Equity and the YMCA also work with food distributors to negotiate delivery costs for businesses participating in the Healthy in a Hurry initiative.
Grant funding has also allowed for the creation of two fulltime positions to connect interested stores with the program and to oversee the program’s continuing development.
“The data shows this neighborhood has only about half the access to major grocery stores that exists in the broader community…which means lower quality and higher prices,” said Steve Tarver, President/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Louisville. “This is a critical endeavor. We are very pleased to work with Akram and all the partners who support Healthy Corner Stores.”
“We want to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Dr. Adewale Troutman. “Food deserts exist when lower income urban neighborhoods are saturated with fast food and convenience stores. Many of the residents of these neighborhoods don’t have access to transportation to get to larger supermarkets that sell fresh produce. Through the Healthy in a Hurry store we’ve given them easy access to healthy fruits and vegetables.”
According to a store survey, more than 6,000 residents live within a one mile radius of the Shawnee Market and 80% of respondents said that they would buy fruits and vegetables at the Market if available. The most often cited reason for why people don’t eat more fruits and vegetables is lack of availability in their primary shopping areas.
The Healthy in a Hurry program is part of a community effort to provide healthier lifestyle options within the neighborhood, which includes a community garden located across from the Shawnee Market, a Mayor’s Mile walking path in nearby Shawnee Park.
“We said at the outset of our Healthy Hometown Movement that we wanted to create a healthier culture,” said Abramson. “Today we can see the fruits of these efforts.”
The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness administers the $7.9 million CPPW grant which seeks to advance the work of the Healthy Hometown Movement and make Louisville a healthier place to live for everyone by:
- encouraging environmental, systems and behavioral change designed to improve the ability to make healthier choices,
- assisting with developing policies, programs and communitywide tools needed to reach the entire community with healthier messages healthier choice support systems,
- targeting entire communities including underserved areas where healthier choices may be severely limited.
To learn more about Louisville’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, visit http://www.louisvilleky.gov/Health/PuttingPreventiontoWork.