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Grocery shopping in Buffalo's food desert

Posted at 3:29 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 17:35:44-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo's East Side is considered a food desert. It is a problem for people who live there because they don't have access to affordable and nutritious food.

"We are considered a food desert on Federal standards. They have to go over three miles to the east, north, south or west to get to a supermarket. And I believe in the 21st century that we shouldn't have to have that going on," said Pastor Dwyane Jones.

Some people have to take one or more buses to get to a supermarket. Some have to take a taxi or an Uber, and Pastor Jones said that can take away from the limited budget they might have.

He said this is an issue he'd like to tackle by trying to get a supermarket on the East side.

'There's a lot of vacant lots on Genesee, there's room for a market on Genesee, I think that's an ideal area. I'm looking at the 600 block of Genesee and I believe that there's a lot of vacant lots that I'm actually forming a DDA on now, and would give us access to build a supermarket," he said.

Pastor Jones adds the area needs to have grocery store soon, given the housing plans for this area.

"We're opening up the Mount Aaron Village within a year, that'll be 60 units on 2.2 acres with 16 townhouses. When you have an influx of those many people in your geographical area, those people have to have somewhere to shop Monday through Friday in order to have proper food on their table," he said.

There were plans last year to build affordable housing units and a grocery store on 201 Ellicott street, developers said they'd both be open by 2021.