A pop-up grocery store that helps fill the food gap for residents of Chicago’s West Side

CHICAGO (CBS) — In the two days they’ve been open, the Garfield Park grocery store pop-up says they’ve already seen over a hundred residents come through their doors.

They seem to be catching on quickly in the neighborhood. Although it’s just a pop-up, organizers say it’s one stop for a larger push to open a permanent grocery store for the community, by the community.

Jamaica Ponder on the stream has more.

“I would say the closest grocery store to where we are right now is two miles in any direction,” Angela Taylor said.

This new grocery store on West Madison is more than just a good idea.

“This is our community’s response to not having a grocery store.”

The only grocery store they had in Garfield Park recently closed for renovations.

“Save-A-Lot closed early and left us without a grocery store, and we felt it was time to stand up and do what we’ve been doing. Fill that gap,” Taylor said.

The Garfield Park City Council, where Taylor is the wellness coordinator, sits at the helm of a group of community organizations supporting the pop-up.

“And we’re very proud to be sitting here to help Angela and the rest of the community enable this vision of access to fresh produce.”

Ayesha Jacko is the Executive Director of West Side United. They have funding from the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation – $50,000 going towards bringing this pop-up to the neighborhood for the next month and a half.

Taylor: We had to do something to make sure the community had access to fresh food.

Jaco: Garfield Park has the lowest life expectancy on the Westside compared to downtown, and when we talk about food access and its relationship to the difference in life expectancy, that’s a factor.

Taylor: We want to make sure they have access so they can do that and not have to bump into other communities across the city.

While this store may be brand new… the Garfield Park Community Council is far from behind the register.

Taylor: What we’ve done for the past 12 years is host the neighborhood market from June to October, twice a month we’ve started to study that process to build what the market looks like.

Consulting years of data, their team developed an inventory that caters to neighborhood tastes and preferences.

Taylor: We know residents are aware, that’s what we’re looking for, because that’s what the community told us.

Source most of their goods from local suppliers of whole foods, home grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat.

Taylor: It’s right here in our neighboring communities. If they’re not right here in Garfield Park and we run out of fresh produce, we run right over there and get more.

Organizers say they want Garfield Park residents to feel like they can find everything they need right here in their neighborhood.

Taylor: We need to be like any other community, have access to things that will keep us healthy and well.

The pop-up grocery store in West Garfield Park is part of a larger initiative by the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collective.

They are set to revitalize the Madison and Pulaski corridor, which has not seen significant investment since the riots that erupted after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. We’re talking 55 years of selling.

Now, thanks to these community organizations and coalitions, multi-million dollar plans are bringing to life real tangible infrastructure and resource centers, all with the interest of closing this life expectancy gap.

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