food desert

A new city law puts money toward incentivizing grocery stores to open in Northwest Jacksonville, an area seen as a food desert.

As Bill Delaney with The Jaxson tells WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo, one store is already in the works at the southeast corner of Moncrief Road and Myrtle Avenue.

The Jacksonville City Council voted on several bills dealing with public health at Tuesday’s meeting. One of them soared through the process, while another with mixed reviews ultimately failed.

April was National Minority Health Month and with diabetes and other health related issues increasing in communities around the state, researchers want to address health disparities. The Florida Department of Health focused its efforts on food deserts and pushed for healthy eating and education. Researchers are pointing to those same food deserts as a contributor to health issues disproportionally affecting minorities, and advocates say education and access to healthier foods would help these communities get back to basics. 

With Northwest Jacksonville’s losing two grocery stores 10 miles apart, Feeding Northeast Florida is stepping in to help with what it considers a worsening food desert.

With two grocery stores set to close about 10 miles apart on Jacksonville’s Northwest side, some city officials are concerned residents won’t have enough access to healthy, fresh food.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Inside the kitchen at Bethel Community Baptist Church Boyzell Hosey and Samantha Wilson are battling for bragging rights.

A new adult-care clinic in Newtown opened this month.  A community-wide partnership aims to make the clinic a ‘one-stop-shop’ for a variety of needs for the community just north of the city of Sarasota, where access to medical care and other services has been a challenge. 

The closing of a Winn-Dixie has State Senator Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, scrambling to help find transportation for senior citizens who rely on the grocery store.  

Madison Manor Senior Living, on Hogan Road near Beach Boulevard, is about a block from Winn-Dixie and 70 percent of the 255 residents don’t have vehicles. Now that the store is closing, they’ll have to figure out where to get their groceries.


A grocery co-op is coming to the Northwest side of Jacksonville, in an area known as a food desert. The project is the work of nonprofits that are stepping in where grocery chains don’t want to open.

For 15 years, Paul Tutwiler has been working to improve Northwest Jacksonville. He heads up the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska was led through a maze of raised garden beds on a lot nestled in the middle of a Westside neighborhood Tuesday.

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Governor Rick Scott signed off Thursday on a measure designed to eradicate so-called “food deserts.”

GEOGOZZ- Wikimedia Commons

As part of Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative, a group of major food retailers promised in 2011 to open or expand 1,500 grocery or convenience stores in and around neighborhoods with no supermarkets by 2016. By their own count, they're far short.

The Pine Manor Improvement Association’s annual teen culinary class recently graduated 8 students. The three week course teaches teens cooking basics and the importance of sustainable farming by using the community’s own garden.

Each student gets a cookbook and a set of cooking utensils to sharpen their new skills.

The Pine Manor Improvement Association’s culinary classes are the brainchild of Florida Gulf Coast University professor Chef James Fraser.

He founded ICARE – or The Institute for Culinary Awareness Research & Education. Fraser recognized a desperate need in Pine Manor, which is considered a food desert, an area with limited or no access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods.

You know the saying about an apple a day keeping the doctor away. Now two USF students are hoping that “one apple” might help keep an entire neighborhood healthy.

Hector Angus and Andrea Little have opened 1Apple Grocery in Plant City, in part to provide relief in a so-called “food desert.”

"A food desert is an area where the residents don’t have access to fresh fruits, or nutritious foods," said Angus, who's pursuing his bachelor's degree in information technology with a minor in business.

"So that’s one of the problems that we’re trying to tackle with 1Apple is being able to provide the fresh produce for the families," added Little, who just completed her third year of medical school.


Lottie Watts / WUSF

Food deserts, areas where fresh and healthy foods can be hard to come by, are all over Florida. There are efforts under way in the Florida Legislature to provide tax incentives for grocers to open up in these areas.

"There's no single definition for a food desert, but generally, by the term, they mean that it's usually a low-income area, and an area where there are a lot of people that may have problems accessing healthy food," said Michelle Ver Ploeg, an economist with the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.