A new option for affordable fresh produce is coming to Peoria's South Side on Sunday.
The not-for-profit Peoria Grown is partnering with the Peoria Park District to open a brick-and-mortar location, dubbed Market 309, in the Logan Recreation Center.
Julie Eliathamby is founder and executive director of Peoria Grown.
"There's no grocery store down there. They don't have a lot of variety," she said. "And also, a lot of the families we serve have no transportation. So we've been trying to figure out, how do we address that? Between accessibility, transportation, and affordability."
That last point is a particular challenge for many South Side residents who want to purchase fresh food.
"What we're doing as a non-profit is, we're buying the produce, but we're not marking it up. So whatever cost we're getting it, we're giving it back to the community," Eliathamby said.
Peoria Grown is in the process of applying to accept LINK, or EBT, as a payment option.
"It's not just getting families food. It's getting them the right type of food," Eliathamby said. "What we're seeing on the back-end when we are working within the community, is there's a lot of health issues arising from people consuming the wrong type of food."
Eliathamby said lower-income families in particular often are receiving highly processed and sugary foods.
"Our mission is to address that issue," she said. "We want to inundate the community with more fresh items."
Peoria Grown is working to recruit local farmers and community gardeners to supply food for Market 309.
Eliathamby said this is an expansion of the pop-up produce concept given a trial run last year. If successful, she said Peoria Grown will explore similar concepts in other parts of the city considered "food deserts."
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