Updated 04/24/2012 10:22 PM
Food co-op to fill city's grocery gap
A group in Binghamton is trying to tackle a big problem. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition wants to create a community owned co-operative market to fill "grocery gaps" where people have limited access to healthy, fresh foods.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Whether you call them food deserts, grocery gaps or something else, they're in Binghamton and they're a big problem.
"Not having access to adequate amounts of healthy foods, having to travel long distances to gain access to those types of foods,” said Sarah Thompson, Health and Wellness Studies at BU.
That's why the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition wants to create a community-owned co-operative market called the Many Hands Food Co-op. They held a meeting Tuesday night for people to learn about the project.
"Having a grocery store in this area is critical to the revitalization of downtown and if you think about it, critical to the health and vitality of any neighborhood,” said David Currie, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition.
Some say a food co-op could help Center City, where people have limited access to healthy food options, much like Binghamton’s North Side.
"If you take the bus, you've got bags to carry. If you're 75-years-old, that's not easy. If you're disabled, that’s not easy. If you're a mom with a child in tow, that's not easy,” said Currie.
The city was recently ranked number two in the nation for obesity. Health experts say one reason stems from little to no access to affordable, healthy food.
"Learning to eat healthy and having access to those foods throughout the development phase, really does contribute to a healthy weight,” said Thompson.
Health experts say even if people have time to exercise, it's important to eat healthy every day.
"As far as weight management goes, nutrition and healthy eating is 80 percent of what we need to focus on,” said Thompson. “Moving is part of that. But having consistent access to affordable healthy food is a major issue."
An issue that could soon be met with a co-op.
For more information on how to become involved with the co-op project, contact the Many Hands Food Co-op group at Mhfco.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607) 205-8732.