Amid grocery store closings, some suggest Shively Food Garden

SHIVELY, Ky. – LeTicia Marshall only has to walk a few steps from her Shively home to find the freshest vegetables.

What you need to know

  • Leticia Marshall runs an urban farm outside her home in Chifley
  • She says recent grocery store closures in Chifley have limited her community’s access to fresh food
  • Marshall and two other organizations want to see a former golf course transformed into a community food park
  • They estimate that nearly half of Shively residents have low or very low access to fresh, healthy food

She told Spectrum News 1, she grows red mustard greens, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and more, but the recent closure of nearby grocery stores has limited her community’s access to fresh food.

Leticia Marshall grows fruits and vegetables outside her home, but says recent grocery store closures have limited Chifley’s access to fresh food. (Spectrum News/1 Erin Kelly)

“A large portion of the population here in Shivley are veterans, and they are disabled people and what about them?” She asked. “What about people who can’t drive or don’t have a car and have to wait on public transportation of some sort to get to the store and back?”

Marshall opened her urban farm, BearFruit & Grow, LLC, two years ago.

It sells fruit and vegetables in bulk and at the Shively Farmers Market.

“It’s about growing food, yes, it’s about feeding people, but it’s really a challenge,” she said. “It’s a call to action to try something different.”

She has been working on a new idea with a youth-led urban farm called the Food Literacy Project and International Ministries Gateway, which helps families in East Africa through farming opportunities.

Both organizations need a permanent home and would like to move into the former Farnsley Golf Course as part of the new Shively Community Food Park.

“We imagine a few different things,” said Carol Gundersen, executive director of the Food Literacy Project. “Definitely, an urban farm, which means acres of food and growing vegetables and growing in the land and harvesting them for our neighbors and I think part of what we’re doing now is engaging the neighbors in a conversation about how they look.”

They estimate that over 11,000 people, or nearly half of Shively’s population, have low to very low access to fresh, healthy food.

“Everyone should eat,” Marshall said. “It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, and what language you speak. It doesn’t matter. Humans have to eat to survive.”

Supporters made a presentation on the proposal to the Chifley City Council.

Marshall said they hope to meet again with council members to go into more detail about the concept.

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