Plans moving forward to create an oasis in Louisville food desert

Plans moving forward to create an oasis in Louisville food desert

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A vacant building on Louisville’s West Market Street could become an oasis in the city’s largest food desert.

Shautrice Martin, director of Feed the West, is purchasing the former home of a closed pizza franchise on West Market Street with plans to turn it into a community grocery and garden called the Black Market.

The goal is to serve nutritional needs of west end residents in an area where fresh nutritional choices are hard to access.

“Our budget is $1.6 million. We have about $700,000 left to fund raise. I’m really excited it’s going well.

Martin believes her success so far is the result of recent heightened awareness of problems in West End neighborhoods.

“A lot of investors I’ve spoken to over the last couple of years, they want to see a thing and then they’ll invest,” Martin said. “So like just having a building probably wouldn’t have been enough. Just having an idea wouldn’t of been enough. But I think once the people saw that we are motivated…then people thought, OK I can trust this project. I can trust that it’s going to happen.”

Martin launched Feed The West to provide nutritional relief when the West Broadway Kroger closed temporarily after looting in early June.

She said the Black Market represents a more sustainable solution to food accessibility.

Martin says a year from now is going to provide a lot of options. That includes jobs on top of the food.

“You’re going to find a really robust market with at least 60 percent black business vendors.”

Martin said the doors could be open in October If all goes well.

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