Jacksonville leaders discuss new ideas to alleviate food deserts, including new grocery store concept

Jacksonville, FL — Hope Cercy has lived on the Northside for the past nine years.

She said finding fresh healthy food in her community can be a challenge.

"A lot of people do have trouble and they have to travel from here to Orange Park or even off of there at Collins Road just to go to a Walmart to get fresh groceries and that’s pretty sad for people who have kids," Cercy said.

Neighbors who live on Edgewood Road say there are not a lot of places they can get fresh fruits and vegetables.

They have the Harvey’s Supermarket, a Save-a-Lot down the street and a Family Dollar store nearby.

On Monday, city leaders talked about bringing a new open-air market to the Northside called Oasis.

It’s modeled after Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Market in one of its historic African-American neighborhoods.

“They have a small business coming together and incubators, they have fresh fruits and vegetables, they have a meat shop,” Jacksonville City Council member Samuel Newby said.

Newby told Action News Jax in the next few weeks he’ll visit Georgia to see how it works and if it’s something they can bring back to north Jacksonville.

“It would be privately owned, independent nonprofit to bring pride back on the Northside and maybe we can expand to other areas,” Newby said.

Cercy said she would be excited for to see Oasis on the Northside, as it could help a lot of her neighbors.

"It will give a lot of people a lot of people a lot more options instead of just Harvey's and maybe those stores have a lot more," she said.

The city is looking at different ways to alleviate food deserts especially in districts 7, 8, 9, and 10, where there is a big need for more grocery stores.

Over the weekend Action News Jax showed you the partnership between the city and JTA’s “door-to-store program.”

Families living in food desert areas can get a free ride to seven grocery stores on the Northside. It rolls out later this week.

The next subcommittee meeting on food deserts will meet on Feb. 10.

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