Where You Live and What’s For Dinner

When we think about public health and our towns and cities, we probably think first and foremost of environmental factors. But what about access to healthy and affordable food? Many urban neighborhoods lack grocery stores with options of fresh produce. The Philly Inquirer has a nice story about the opening of a supermarket in a North Philly neighborhood (hat tip to Atrios).

But for many of the customers who visited the Fresh Grocer that opened in Progress Plaza, on Broad Street near Jefferson, yesterday, it was the first time in 11 years they didn’t have to trek across the city to find fresh, affordable food.

Of course this isn’t just a public health matter. The opening of the supermarket doesn’t just mean access to healthier food options, it also means jobs.

Seventy-three percent of the store’s employees come from within a 2-mile radius of Progress Plaza – the nation’s oldest African-American owned and developed shopping center – said Carly Spross, Fresh Grocer’s director of marketing. […]

“It’s great,” new Fresh Grocer employee Andre Johnson said of the chance to work at the store.

“This is [going to be] the epicenter of North Philly,” he said before bustling off to help a customer with a cart.

Access to jobs, access to healthy food options, and the importance of “epicenters” for neighborhoods–these are all issues we’ll explore with the Shaping Our Towns & Cities project.

–Jeff Prudhomme

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