Edgehill Food Now works for grocery in neighborhood
Healthy, fresh food will fight obesity, diabetes in Edgehill
By Nancy Deville • THE TENNESSEAN • September 8, 2010
Fast-food restaurants and junk food are plentiful in Edgehill, but residents hope a new community effort will help bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood.
Local agencies, the Edgehill Family Resource Center, Organized Neighbors of Edgehill and Re/Storing Nashville, recently collaborated to form Edgehill Food Now.
The group will work to bring awareness of the area’s lack of food resources and promote good nutrition.
Organizers recently sponsored a neighborhood event to give residents information on healthy eating and health screenings.
The Edgehill community is considered a food desert, an area where there is no supermarket within walking distance and little access to fresh produce.
The nearest supermarket is two miles away and not easily accessible for the nearly one-third of residents who don’t have a car. While public transportation is an option, it limits the number of groceries to what one can carry.
It’s been eight years since the supermarket closed at 1119 12th Ave. S., and the space is now home to Operation Stand Down, a local nonprofit that helps struggling veterans.
Direct transportation needed
“If we don’t have a grocery store, there should be some type of reliable shuttle service with scheduled dates and times where residents can go to the grocery store,” said Brenda Morrow, director of Edgehill Family Resource Center.
“This is not a small problem, especially when you have a high level of obesity in this community. If people can come together and put together a plan and identify funds and move forward on doing a convention center, then what’s so hard about getting a grocery store?”
The organization is inviting Metro council members and agencies to meet with residents and community stakeholders next week to discuss ideas to combat food deserts.
“We’ve been working separately, but now we are coming together,” said Miriam Leibowitz, Re/Storing Nashville program coordinator.
“The short-term solution of direct transportation to existing stores is really vital and needs to be recognized,” Leibowitz said. “Getting to affordable healthy food is difficult if you are disabled or have young kids and don’t own a car. We want to work with policy makers to address the transportation access and make it easier for full-service grocery stores to locate in Edgehill.”
Turnip Truck gets involved
Cities nationwide are taking steps to eliminate food deserts.
In Chicago, city officials approached Walgreens, which is piloting food centers on the city’s south and west side that lack grocery stores.
Fresh fruit and vegetables have been added to several stores, allowing residents to buy needed fares while picking up prescriptions or toiletries.
Turnip Truck owner John Dyke is working with Edgehill Food Now on incentives for Edgehill residents to come and shop in the store’s new location that will soon open in The Gulch.
The Turnip Truck, an organic market based in East Nashville, will be the first grocery store in the Gulch area.
The store, which will include a full meat and seafood department and prepared in-house foods, plans to reduce the grocery bill of Edgehill shoppers who use public transportation for their bus fare, if they spend a minimum of $20.
The Turnip Truck is also helping residents and community leaders to maintain the Edgehill community garden.
“Partnerships like this are what we need,” Morrow said. “It’s great when people come into the community and give and help identify the needs.
“If other stores did the same thing it would be good. It would allow people to keep some good, nutritious, healthy food in their homes.”
Contract Nancy DeVille at 615-259-8304 or email@example.com.