With our work in Southeast Canton and our efforts in bringing a nonprofit, community-led supermarket to that area, coupled with successfully operating a Mobile Grocery Market for six years, we knew that hunger isn’t seasonal and that neighborhoods need permanent, affordable solutions to access groceries year-round.
When we looked at how to maximize the space within the Food Justice Campus, we researched how best to reimagine the space to tackle causes of hunger and best impact our community. The Campus is situated just two blocks from SARTA’s main bus terminal, in which over 150,000 souls pass through each month. This is less than a 10 minute round trip if walking, as many are. With the closing of an additional nearby grocery store last year, there is effectively no way to access fresh, quality, produce or other groceries anywhere in downtown Canton, Ohio.
This Grocery Store will create several pathways, with the most visible piece being the immediate change in easily accessible, affordable food.
An additional component of this project is the economic impact of creating opportunities for several full and part-time employees. Instead of just providing straightforward employment, this grocery store will create an opportunity for true economic stability and transformation for those being employed. Incorporating a standard employment training program with pieces such as financial literacy learning, healthy eating and cooking education, cash handling, sales, and other retail business skills can truly assist in a potential employee’s personal growth and development.
Other economic opportunities revolve around collaborative programs within our shared kitchen space. By utilizing food already being created for other programs, like Suppertime Meals, and u using produce from nearby farm and garden locations, also being tended by area residents we are using the Grocery store to complete a mini closed-loop food system of its own. These food items can then be sold at the Grocery Store.