“All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson, according to an office press release. “A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. My administration is committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities. I am proud to work alongside partners to take this step in envisioning what a municipally owned grocery store in Chicago could look like.”
Johnson's release noted it aims to promote "food equity," and that estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that "63.5% of residents in West Englewood and 52% of residents in East Garfield Park live more than half a mile from their nearest grocery store, whereas in West Town less than 1% of residents experience this barrier to food access."
This initiative, if completed, would mark Chicago becoming the first major US city to launch a government-owned grocery store to deal with "food inequity," according to the release.
“The City of Chicago is reimagining the role government can play in our lives by exploring a public option for grocery stores via a municipally owned grocery store and market,” stated Ameya Pawar, a senior advisor at the Economic Security Project. “Not dissimilar from the way a library or the postal service operates, a public option offers economic choice and power to communities. A City-owned grocery store in the South or West side of Chicago would be a viable way to restore access to healthy food in areas that have suffered from historic and systemic disinvestment."
The administration has reportedly kicked off a feasibility study to see how the new store can succeed.
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