Nonprofit Chattanooga grocery hoping to address food insecurity
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) With the closing of a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Brainerd, the community has become a food desert.
Now, a nonprofit grocery store by the Chattanooga Sustainable Food Center is stepping up to address food insecurity.
“Gaining Ground Groceries started as our way to address food access. In the 37404 zip code there’s not a lot of fresh food options and so I thought it would be a good thing to start,” says Executive Director, Holly Martin
Martin is a nutritionist who previously managed the Main Street Farmers Market.
With the launch of Gaining Ground Groceries in 2019, she now partners with over 20 local producers to provide nutritious food for those in need.
And while she says her project alone won’t solve food insecurity, she hopes it’ll be a start – and that soon, it could even be replicated.
“Our five hundred square foot grocery store won’t solve food insecurity in Chattanooga, but I think it’s definitely a start and we’re doing a lot of analytics on how our operations work and if it’s something that can be replicated I think it could start to chip away at some of those issues and we’re just trying to talk to a lot of people and make good partnerships and be good listeners,” explains Martin.
The Chattanooga Food Bank also has stepped up to help members of the Brainerd community.
Jennifer Lockwood Fritts says that resources are available with the food bank to those who need it.
“Our distribution center here on Amnicola is on a bus line so there’s a bus stop right outside of our door so that’s always an option. You can call here, we can tell you any partner agency in that area that can get you food that day, we can direct you to the Brainerd food pantry and then tell you about our mobile pantries that we have,” says Fritts.