food deserts

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Clifton has been without a supermarket since January 2011, when Kellers IGA closed. Another supermarket operator bought the building on Ludlow Avenue, but wasn't able to open a store there.  So for the last year, community advocates have been raising money to start a cooperative market.

A cooperative market is owned by many individuals who typically have a say in how the business is run.

If you aren't familiar with the "food desert" concept, you may be soon. The Center for Closing the Health Gap is launching an awareness campaign about communities without access to a full-service grocery store.

Executive Director Renee Mahaffey Harris says Cincinnati is one of only a few cities nationwide to win a grant for the campaign.

"We are going to build a fund. And that fund will enable to provide access to grocery stores in sites throughout our city and throughout this region that do not have a full service grocery store," she says.

A recent report suggests Cincinnati set-up a $15 million fund to attract grocery stores to city neighborhoods that are currently described as food deserts.  These are geographic areas with low access to affordable, healthy food.

A study finds there are 24 supermarkets in the Cincinnati metropolitan area, putting the region below the national average by about 10 stores.