Easier Access to Healthy Food In Center City - | WBTV Charlotte

Easier Access to Healthy Food In Center City

Every Thursday afternoon from Three to Six, Henry Owen sets up shop at Uptown's Transit Center.

His produce truck of fruits and vegetables arrive one day a week with a very specific purpose in mind.

"We believe that everyone should have access to fresh healthy food. Everything we do is based on that belief," he said.

It is a strong belief that's part of a mindful mission being carried out by the nonprofit group known as Friendship Gardens.

The goal is to provide access to those who in many instances face daily hardships.

UNC Charlotte professor Beth Racine was part of a study group that examined Charlotte's urban areas in what's known as food deserts.

The West Boulevard corridor was under the microscope and cited for not having a supermarket that offered high quality fruits and veggies.

Complicating issues is that many in the study area rely on public transportation.

Racine said, " In the low income areas, they have very few grocery stores."

That's why Henry Owen's weekly road show has a built in following.

"People are always choosing to buy Doritos or buy Twinkies for dinner, when there isn't simply a choice, if they had options," Owen said.  "If they could buy apples, if they could buy broccoli, A lot of people would choose to do that. In some neighborhood stores that people could walk to, they don't have those options."

While Ricky Turner is able to find a nutritious snack on the way home, he also understands the value at this produce stand that goes beyond dollars and cents.

Turner said, "It helps a lot. It helps a lot. I think it's a lot healthier to eat fruits and vegetables, and I think they need more stands like this out here."

Among the goals is easing hardship and numbing poverty's pain, but what being is played out on Fourth Street also carries another meaningful subplot, according to Owen.

"We are trying to break down any barriers have that people have to eating fresh foods."

It is an ongoing initiative of turning barriers into bridges of improved nutrition.

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