A north Minneapolis neighborhood that’s a federally designated food desert will soon have better access to fresh fruits and veggies.
North Market, a project of nonprofit Pillsbury United Communities, will open its doors this fall, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
The area is home to roughly 70,000 people and a slew of convenience stores but only one supermarket, according to the paper.
Pillsbury United Communities “works with underestimated populations across Minneapolis to foster the resilience and self-sufficiency of individuals, families and community as a whole,” according to its website. The nonprofit plans to make space for a clinic operated by North Memorial Health Care adjacent to the new grocery store.
“It’s really about providing healthy food access and bringing an economic anchor to a community,” Adair Mosley, the nonprofit’s chief innovation officer, told the paper. Pillsbury United Communities is fundraising for the project, and is about halfway to its $6.3 million goal. Construction is expected to begin in March.
Wirth Cooperative Grocery, a long-expected project in the Willard-Hay neighborhood several miles south, is also expected to open this year with federal grants and investment from local businesses.
Minneapolis is creating a track record of tackling food security. In 2008, it became the nation’s first city to require corner stores to carry essentials like produce, eggs and grains. “The Minneapolis Healthy Corner Store Program has continued to introduce initiatives to increase the quality and inventory of produce in neighborhood stores, as well as store owners’ knowledge of handling and marketing fresh produce,” Jen Kinney wrote for Next City last year.
Such projects are in high demand: Minnesota ranks low on the national list of states with easy access to grocery stores according to a 2016 report.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.