Lincoln Park residents begin fight against ‘food desert’Accessing food in Lincoln Park is not a new problem. There has not been a full-scale grocery store in the neighborhood for 30 years, and the last small grocer closed more than 10 years ago.
By: Lisa Luokkala and Matt Traynor, Duluth Budgeteer News
Accessing food in Lincoln Park is not a new problem. There has not been a full-scale grocery store in the neighborhood for 30 years, and the last small grocer closed more than 10 years ago. Small start-ups have come and gone, causing Lincoln Park to be classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a food desert. That’s a place where you cannot easily access food because of physical or economic barriers. In Lincoln Park, no part of the neighborhood is less than a mile away from a grocery store.
A person’s health should not be determined by a zip code. The most vulnerable populations, children and elderly, should not have to live in a food-scarce neighborhood. Families with income $10,000 below Duluth’s median income are worthy of more than convenience-store food in their neighborhood. What Lincoln Park is experiencing is a disinvestment in the neighborhood.
In early August, the Fair Food Access Campaign volunteers hit the streets and talked to Lincoln Park residents about their food access needs. Fifteen volunteer canvassers knocked on 1,337 doors and spoke with 470 people. What they learned was that 44 percent of residents surveyed found food access to be a problem. Neighbors endorsed suggested solutions including; a grocery store shuttle (43 percent), carpool (41 percent), a food buying club (55percent), a food coop (65 percent), a farm stand (80 percent), and a farmer’s market (89 percent).
On Aug. 9, Lincoln Park residents interested in solutions to fair food access gathered to hear the results of the survey and turn neighborhood generated ideas into action. More than 50 people arrived with enthusiasm and generated community-driven solutions to the food access need in Lincoln Park. Another gathering of Lincoln Park residents and the community action team will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Rock Hill Community Church.
Luokkala is the director of Healthy Duluth Area Coalition contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-722-4745 Ext. 152. Traynor is a community organizer at CHUM. Contact him at email@example.com or 218-740-2498.