CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Rahm Emanuel claims to be the only mayoral candidate with a plan to address the lack of grocery stores in some South Side neighborhoods – often called “food deserts.”
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, residents of the Chatham neighborhood currently have at least one grocery store, with one under construction. A Wal-Mart is on the way, at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue.
But just to the south, grocery stores are nowhere to be found.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports
“We need to be able to bring to bear a better vision; a wider vision of what needs to happen,” said Leon Walker, chairman of the Far South Side Community Development Corporation.
Walker says the reasons there are no major grocery stores between Interstate 57 and the Bishop Ford Freeway, from 95th Street out to 127th Street, are both political and land-related.
Emanuel says bringing in new grocery stores not only deals with the problem, but brings much-needed jobs to the neighborhoods.
“There is something fundamentally wrong in a city or society where 600,000 people, on the last count, do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Emanuel said.
Earlier this month, Emanuel said he would work to solve the food desert crisis by engaging at small local grocery stores, assisting in the creation of public-private partnerships, and encouraging people to plant community gardens.
He also plans to reform the zoning regulations that make urban agriculture difficult, according to his campaign Web site.