Walmart Neighborhood Market Helps Food Deserts

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a shopper social amplification for Collective Bias.
Fresh Produce At Walmart

They’re called food deserts. Neighborhoods without grocery stores, where the residents have little to no access to fresh produce. There are no big grocers, no cute little farmer’s markets, and folks who don’t have cars are left to piece together meals from the unhealthy selections that are their only options. While I’m used to working in these types of communities in Philadelphia where I served in the inner-city, I had no idea many areas in California faced the same issue. It’s true, though, there are rural and urban areas here in California where it’s hard to come by good quality fruits and veggies. One community in Jurupa Valley about an hour outside of Los Angeles was like that. Last week, though, a new Walmart Neighborhood Market opened up in the city of Riverside, and gave residents choices, jobs, and exceptional food at a price they can afford.

I was able to visit the Walmart Neighborhood Market (#GOWalmart) in Riverside on the night before it opened, and was really surprised at how emotional I got walking around the empty store, chatting with employees who were busy setting up. Knowing what I know about being poor, and having experienced choosing between the electricity bill and food on many occasions, I knew firsthand what a positive impact this store would have on the community. The employees were just the tip of the iceberg. One associate had been looking for employment for 3 years, and was finally given a chance to work in his own neighborhood when the store opened up. Another associate, an Assistant Store Manager, had started off with Walmart 17 years ago as a seasonal worker during the holidays, and had moved her way up. I met her in-laws, Sheri and Stan, who were eager and proud to share her story. Sheri was especially excited that she didn’t have to travel miles and miles away for fresh fruit anymore, or take her chances with the lackluster selection at the local, high priced store.

Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart Low Prices

Walmart Neighborhood Market Cashier

The next day, at the store’s public grand opening, local residents expressed the same appreciative sentiment. They were able to walk to the store from their home. The produce is so fresh. The food is so affordable. The Walmart Neighborhood Market is a great addition to their community. As neighbors browsed and shopped, store associates bustled about helping out whenever possible, answering questions, and making sure the store stayed clean. It felt like a neighborhood market, y’all.

It’s devastating that there are communities in this country where people have to choose between food and bills. Or that they have to travel 2 hours round trip on a bus to get groceries for their family to eat. The Walmart Neighborhood Market, in rural and urban areas, are giving folks choices. After all, isn’t that the neighborly thing to do?

Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart Customers Grand Opening

Did you know about food deserts in the United States? Do you live in one? Do you have any ideas for how we can solve the problem of folks not having access to affordable, healthy food?

  • Rivka(Irene)Krasnoff

    Very moving article. Glad to see Walmart getting involved with making fresh fruits and veggies affordable and accessible in communities that desperately needs it.

  • Margaret

    I grew up in a neighborhood desert in West Oakland. Plenty of liquor store but no grocery store for a few miles. Its good for the community that they opened and I do hope that it remains.

  • RaisedByCulture

    I never thought about it this way (all these years living in the city) until this post!

  • http://mypocketfulofthoughts.com/ Arelis Cintron

    I worked in a grocery store for ten years and a few years later that store closed. It created a food desert in my neighborhood until local developers transformed the lot into a new shopping center. Now another grocery store is there. But since a majority of the people walk or take public transportation is still limits what people can buy in terms of fresh produce. I am thankful that I have a car and work in an area that isn’t a food desert.

  • MavenMantrap

    This is a major concern in MANY communities! As an African-American woman I often times look at the neighborhood that I grew up in and wonder “how are people supposed to get any type of healthy food?” There is an expectation of all people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but having no REAL food equates to having no boots! How can children grow up and excel in school where going to the grocery store to get vegetables takes 2 hours for a parent that already has 2 jobs? Great article…thank you kindly for sharing!

  • http://www.mamaharriskitchen.com/ Mama Harris

    I think this is a very real issue and unless you live in one of these areas it’s an issue that you don’t even realize exists. Growing up I lived in a good area, there were plenty of places to shop with markets and stores all around. When I was a young, single mother I didn’t live in the best areas. Matter of fact, for about 7 years I lived in this type of area and the only things within walking distance were liquor stores or a few fast food places. I recall there was one liquor store I would frequent when I didn’t have a car and I would try to buy groceries that were often stale or expired and the market would close early because the neighborhood wasn’t the best. Had I heard about that type of thing, in my very own city just 10 years earlier I would never have believed it. I’m so glad that WalMart is popping up with these neighborhood markets and not only giving people access to fresh, good food but also supplying jobs in these areas as well. Thank you for such an insightful article.