I remember when I first learned about food deserts. It was at a Junior League of Charlotte meeting and the guest speaker informed all in attendance that food deserts are areas in a community that lack access to foods needed to make up a healthy diet.
In 2010, more than 72,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents were listed as living in food deserts without access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. The statistic is shocking, but the good news is there are organizations and individuals that are taking action to make a difference.
Roots In the Community Market Foundation (R.I.C.’s Market) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Incorporated in late 2014, R.I.C.’s Market is a not-for-profit full-service grocer that will offer affordable healthy food where there is little or no access to it.
Created by Angela Gray, R.I.C.’s Market works to ensure that all Charlotte residents have access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food through funding food subsidies focused on food, scholarships, and community outreach. R.I.C.’s Market hopes to be the community connector for low-income areas to businesses, healthcare, higher education, government programs and other not-for profit organizations.
“For most people when you say nonprofit grocery store, they either think of a fruit and vegetable stand, maybe a low end bare bones store selling expired foods or simply don’t believe that a nonprofit store could ever be sustainable,” said Gray, R.I.C.’s Market Foundation chairwoman. “I am so excited to have the opportunity to challenge all of these preconceived notions.”
On Saturday, October 17, R.I.C.’s Market will host the “Sweetest Day” fundraising event at 3 p.m. at The Garage at Packard Place. Money raised will help R.I.C.’s Market open the first full service nonprofit grocery store in Charlotte. The event will also allow attendees to hear firsthand about R.I.C.’s innovative approach to solving the fresh food access problem.
Tickets to this event are $40 and can be purchased here. Admission includes cooking demonstrations, delicious food samples, local produce, and door prizes. Adults and children are welcome.
R.I.C.’s Market hopes to not only provide fresh and healthy food options, but to also educate everyone they serve. If you’re in town on Saturday, stop by and learn about food deserts and how you can help address the need and access problems in Charlotte.