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Metro Newsroom

Fresh Produce New Offering in Park Hill

Thursday January 15, 2009

A store within the Park Hill Industrial Corridor is one of two area stores to get improvements that will allow them to offer fresh produce to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Shorty’s convenience store at 931 Dixie Highway in the California neighborhood, along with Smoketown Dollar Plus at 755 S. Preston, will share a

$20,000 grant to purchase refrigeration units, display racks, new signs and other improvements. The improvements are being sponsored by the Healthy in a Hurry initiative of the Center for Health Equity and the YMCA. The initiative 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.

“I know very well the important role that corner grocery stores play in our city,” said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. “My parents operated a grocery and I made deliveries on my bike. Today the Center for Health Equity and the YMCA are bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to two neighborhoods that need them,” said Abramson.

Paul’s Fruit Market and Creation Gardens will donate start-up produce for each of the stores and will provide technical assistance to store owners. The Center for Health Equity and the YMCA will also work with food distributors to negotiate delivery costs for businesses participating in the Healthy in a Hurry initiative.

“The Healthy in a Hurry initiative is helping to give those who live in food deserts some of the same healthy food choices that those who live in more affluent neighborhoods often take for granted,” said Metro Public Health and Wellness Director 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.”

According to the Community Farm Alliance, one-third of western Louisville residents and one-half of east downtown residents in areas such as Smoketown and Shelby Park, don’t have cars. A 2007 analysis by food researcher Mari Gallager found that western Louisville and east downtown residents must travel two to five times farther to reach a mainstream supermarket than to reach the nearest convenience store or fast food resturaunt.

“This is a terrific project,” said Mike Kader, owner of Smoketown Dollar Plus. “I am excited for our community,” Julie Kader said. “We now will be able to offer our customers, many of whom live in the Shepherd Square housing project, fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Staff members of the Center for Health Equity also will go into classes at nearby Meyzeek Middle School, educating children about nutrition and healthy shopping. They will issue the students coupons for healthy snacks, such as bananas and apples that can be redeemed at Smoketown Dollar Plus.

The name of the initiative, Healthy in a Hurry, was chosen by a group of Meyzeek students. The students unveiled the new Healthy in a Hurry sign on the exterior of Smoketown Dollar Plus with Mayor Abramson.