Governor Ivey announces grant to make available fresh, affordable food for people living in food deserts

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  Many Alabamians who do not live close to a local grocery store may have the store come to them because of a $78,000 grant announced by Governor Kay Ivey.

The Appalachian Regional Commission grant will fund the “Corner Market,” a rolling pantry stocked with fresh produce and healthy foods. The market will make stops in communities and neighborhoods in Jefferson, Calhoun, St. Clair, Walker and Winston counties.

“Many Alabamians, even in our most populous areas, do not have easy access to affordable and healthy foods,” Ivey said. “Through this collaborative effort of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and so many others, people living in low-income and low-access communities will be assured they can obtain nutritious foods.”

The “Corner Market” is a 24-foot-long trailer equipped with shelving, coolers and checkout counter stocked with fresh foods. It will make weekly stops at designated times and specified locations in communities that have been classified as food deserts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to the USDA, food deserts are rural or urban areas where there is no immediate access to affordable and healthy foods.

In addition to providing produce and nutritious foods, the “Corner Market” will offer food and health-related programs, including cooking demonstrations, nutrition education and health screenings.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.

“Since its creation 50 years ago, the Appalachian Regional Commission continues to recognize and fund programs that improve the lives of people in north and central Alabama,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “With support and approval from Governor Ivey, this grant will make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who visit the Corner Market. Governor Ivey knows the importance of healthy food for Alabamians, and I am grateful for her support of this grant and ADECA.”

The ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build to strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.  Thirty-seven counties in Alabama are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds.

ADECA also manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.

Ivey notified Debra White, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, that the grant had been approved.

Information provided by the Office of Governor Kay Ivey