Relief may be on way for food deserts in Jacksonville

New, healthy food options could be coming to Northwest Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In Northwest Jacksonville, there's just one grocery store where residents can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat, but that could soon change. Harvey's is the only one in the large area of town, which experts deem a food desert.

City lawmakers have proposed a new ordinance (2019-245) to bring more healthy food options to Northwest Jacksonville. A similar ordinance proposed last year allowed for a consultant to evaluate the area to determine specific needs.

For many who live in the Moncrief area, Harvey's is the only way for them to get fresh, healthy food without having to travel several miles.

One shopper, who preferred not to be identified, said more grocery options are needed.

"It would be great in this area. I just moved over here a couple of months ago and there’s really not a Walmart over here. There’s one off of Dunn Avenue. As far as grocery stores, this (Harveys) is about the only one."

The City Council wants to adopt a new full-service grocery program that would appropriate $3 million for grocery stores and healthy options education. It's news many who live in Moncrief are happy to hear.

"For me, the more the better," said resident Leslie.

Shoppers said this has been a long-awaited project.

The proposal finds that nearly 180,000 people in Jacksonville are food insecure.