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Gray Street Farmers Market Brings Produce To Food Desert

Courtesy University of Louisville

The Gray Street Farmers Market returns Thursday for its eighth year.

It's part of an effort to provide fresh produce to employees of the University of Louisville Health Sciences campuses, as well the surrounding communities of Phoenix Hill, Smoketown and Shelby Park. The market is coordinated by the U of L School of Public Health and Information Sciences and the Metro Department of Health and Wellness.

“We definitely think that conditions need to be created in communities for people to be healthy,” says Melissa Schreck, director of external affairs and strategic planning with SPHIS. “And here, because we are a food desert, it is an area where people aren’t able to have easy access to affordable or really good quality fresh food.”

According to the USDA, a food desert is a “low-income census tract where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a healthy food retail outlet” -- meaning that in the context of urban communities, the poverty rate for a tract is at least 20 percent, and the residents of that tract live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meat and eggs, honey, jams, baked items and herbs are some of the Gray Street Farmers Market foods available. And according to Schreck, visitors can also pay for their food in a variety of ways.

“We have a machine so our market accepts debit cards, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers,” she says.

The market includes 11 vendors from throughout Kentucky and Indiana, will feature two new farmers and host a rotating group of lunch vendors and food trucks. The market also has established a new partnership with the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Nutrition Education Program and will co-sponsor meal-sampling events on June 9, July 14, and August 11.

The Gray Street Farmers Market is located on the 400 block of E. Gray Street, between S. Preston and S. Jackson streets. Open every Thursday through October 26, 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.