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Koehler: Filling Peoria's Food Gap Will Require New Ideas

Shrinking Peoria’s food deserts might require thinking differently about grocery stores.

State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) helped lead community conversations on how to proceed after Kroger closed two stores last year. 

“I think it’s going to take a combination, kind of a public-private partnership," he said. You’ve got a lot of neighborhood organizations and citywide organizations that could support that kind of an effort, linked up with some private investment. I think that could be a possible solution.” 

The Regional Fresh Food Council recently issued a report on how to bring back readily-accessible fresh food options for these neighborhoods.

“Part of that might be looking at ways of getting food to people. There’s a lot of stores that are doing deliveries now. One of the questions is, how do they pay for that? And there’s some easier ways that we can handle that," he said. He suggested there may be a mobile option. 

Koehler says part of the challenge is finding somebody willing to take the risk to try something new and make a profit on it. 

On Wednesday, local entrepreneurs interested in brainstorming improved food access in the River City are invited to attend the Greater Peoria Food Innovation Meetup at Sous Chef, 1311 SW Adams in the Warehouse District. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. 

Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.