Effort seeks to expand grocery options in Duluth neighborhood

Volunteers begin canvassing the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Duluth on Sunday to find out how make healthy food more accessible.

Lincoln Park is what's known as an urban food desert -- it's a low-income neighborhood without a grocery store.

Lisa Luokkala, a leader of Duluth's Fair Food Access Campaign, says that poses a real problem for residents without transportation.

"Right now, a lot of people are maybe going to the grocery store once or twice a month," Luokkala says, "spending a lot of money on cab fare to get their food home, and then supplementing by going to a convenience store in the neighborhood, virtually a gas station, adding additional costs to their food budget."

Volunteers plan to knock on every door in Lincoln Park over the next week. Luokkala says volunteers will talk with residents about solutions.

"We know most people are going to say, 'It'd be great to have a grocery store,'" she says. "But we also know that there are a lot of neighborhoods across the country that have been trying to bring grocery stores in and haven't been successful, but they've been successful with some other projects, like maybe a mobile food truck, a fresh produce truck or transportation to the current food outlets as well."

Volunteers will ask residents which options they would actually use. After the weeklong canvas, project leaders will hold a community meeting to report what they've learned.

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