Truman Medical Center to Build Oasis in Urban “Food Desert”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Truman Medical Center is getting into the grocery store business in hopes of bringing some relief to residents in one of the city’s “food deserts,” saying that they must step up to help provide healthy food options in the community they serve.
The hospital plans on building the full-service grocery store on a currently vacant lot at 27th and Troost. Officials say that they hope the store will be open for business in about 16 months.
“Food Deserts” are defined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as an area of high poverty with little access to supermarkets or other sources of fresh food. In the area of the planned grocery store, there are now a lot of fast food restaurants, convenience stores and liquor stores – but no grocery stores. Officials with TMC say that the grocery store will bring quality, healthy and affordable food choices to the area.
Kansas City Missouri City Council member Jermaine Reed says that people in the neighborhood often have to pay more for less, and the quality of the food often isn’t always the best.
“Truman Medical Center has had a unique interest in the urban core, and they’ve had a number of community meetings where they have come to ask residents in the area what it is they would like to see in a grocery store,” said Reed.
TMC officials say that they are partnering with an economic development corporation to build the store. The hospital also says that they are seeking to replace the fast-food restaurant on their campus with a healthier option.