Fresh food is coming to a food desert in the northeast section of Indianapolis with the addition of Indy Fresh Market. Slated to open in early 2022, the store is a true community effort started by neighborhood entrepreneurs and supported by local government, nonprofit, health care and academic organizations.
"Food deserts exist throughout our state. They are in our cities and in our rural communities. And we know that more than a quarter of Black Hoosiers live in a food desert. The challenges around food insecurity exacerbate already present health inequalities that can impact many generations to come," said Pete Yonkman, president of Bloomington, Indiana-based Cook Medical and Cook Group, the project partner building the store.
Other partners include Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, The Indianapolis Foundation, IMPACT Central Indiana, Martin University, the State of Indiana, City of Indianapolis and the United Northeast Community Development Corp., all teaming up to assist founding grocers Michael McFarland and Markus Williams. The groups bring different but complementary types of support, from providing start-up capital to hiring 100% minority-owned contractors to training and educating staff and associates on grocery store operations.
Located an area devoid of grocery stores, Indy Fresh Market will give residents access to fresh food and accept most government and local food assistance programs. McFarland and Williams will operate the store, with a long-term goal of owning 100% of the business and real estate through a rent-to-own plan.