Putting more grocery stores into poor communities

I ran across this article recently in the Star Tribune. Up until reading it, I had always thought that I lived “uncomfortably” close (NIMBY close) to the enormous Supervalu warehouse here in Hopkins. Now, I am impressed that Supervalu wants to join up in this effort, and I feel a little bit less put upon that I live under the highway with this enormous semi-truck hive.

The gist of the article is simple: “The giant Supervalu grocery chain became a key player in First Lady Michelle Obama’s national battle against childhood obesity Wednesday with a promise to open 250 supermarkets in urban and rural areas that currently don’t have easy access to fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.”

One of the things that is continuously said about very poor communities is that they are isolated from good shopping–especially good grocery stores. Isolation like this drives the rent down, but it also ensures that the children and adults that live there have no access to real food.

There are huge values in changing that, and this article details a lot of them. Major companies like Supervalu, Walmart, and Walgreens are getting involved in providing good food, solid jobs, and legitimate ways for communities to improve. More importantly, these communities are thinking of it as a business proposition: they have no frills and fancies attached to what they’re trying to do. It’s not charity and its not rocket science, just a plain and clear attempt to restore dignity to groups of people by giving them access to good food.

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