Report ranks Indy worst in nation for food deserts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A recent Walk Score report  ranks Indianapolis the worst city in the United States, tied with Oklahoma City, for walkable access to grocery stores. The study looked at cities with at least 500,000 people.

According to Walk Score, only 5 percent of people live within a five-minute walk to a grocery store. That’s compared to the top ranked New York City, where 72 percent of people can walk to the grocery store in five minutes.

Local groups are aiming to fix the food desert problem.

“The old corner grocers have left and gone under business. Therefore the new, bigger stores that we see all either lie in the perimeter or in the immediate downtown area, which left this doughnut of no stores at all,” said Pogue’s Run Grocer manager, Nathan Roberts.

Pogue’s Run Grocer is a local food co-op, located near 10th and Rural on the city’s east side. Before Pogue’s opened a little more than three years ago, the area was considered a food desert.

“There were a lot of food pantries and a lot of convenience gas stations selling food, but there wasn’t anywhere you could get fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh meat, pretty much fresh anything,” said Roberts.

Now, many residents can simply walk or bike to Pogue’s and buy fresh, local and organic food.

“It was really exciting for us to know that good, local organic ingredients were down the street that we could ride our bikes to,” said shopper Liz Munson.

Munson said Pogue’s made the area more appealing when she was looking to move to the east side in 2012.

“It was really exciting for us to know that good, local organic ingredients were down the street that we could ride our bikes to,” said Munson.

Roberts said there is still work to be done in  food deserts around Indianapolis.

“They’re all over the place, they’re in every city in our country there’s no city that doesn’t get away from this idea, ” said Roberts.

Pogue’s hopes to eventually expand into other parts of Indianapolis, where neighborhoods are still struggling with access to fresh produce.

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