In 2014, Indianapolis was ranked as the worst city in the country for food deserts. Unfortunately, that’s no surprise to us. In fact, one of the main reasons we opened Pogue’s Run Grocer near 10th and Rural was to provide food access in that food desert.
“Food Desert: An area (often urban) without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.”
In 2015, Double 8 Foods closed all of their stores, drastically increasing the size and number of food deserts in Indianapolis.
In response, conversations regarding food access issues have re-emerged in the media, amongst neighborhood groups and within the camps of local politicians … even prompting the recent introduction of a “Food Desert Bill” in the Indiana Legislature.
So what does the recent closing of the Double 8 stores mean for Pogue’s Run Grocer?
Can the Indy Food Co-op and Pogue’s Run Grocer help the neighborhoods that depended on the Double 8 stores as their only option for grocery shopping?
Is there an opportunity for Pogue’s Run Grocer to expand into former Double 8 neighborhoods? These are all good questions; questions that we’ve been hearing since the day the Double 8’s closed.
Without a doubt, we’re proud of the fact that neighborhood and political leaders have reached out to us. After all, we are the only food co-operative in Indianapolis. We are the only group in the city that has sustained experience in providing food access in the desert.
In the first 10 days after the closings, we joined the discussion in 6 of the meetings that these leaders asked us to attend.
But what are the answers to the questions?
To be honest, we don’t know yet. It’s still early. The worst food desert issues in the country continue to get worse. There will certainly be opportunities; it’s just too early to tell exactly what they’ll be and what role we can play.
Rest assured though, we will continue to share our experience and expertise. We were founded to be part of the solution and we’ll continue to work to be just that … part of the solution.