Located at 5029 St. Claude Ave., the fresh food store is expected to be completed by next summer

Sankofa Community Development Corporation (Sankofa CDC) on Dec. 8, broke ground on Fresh Stop Market, a 1,600 square foot healthy food store and community learning kitchen that will be the first of its kind to provide daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Construction of the Fresh Stop Market building, at 5029 St. Claude Ave., will be completed by the summer of 2022. The Lower Ninth Ward has been designated a food dessert by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) because the neighborhood lacks easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store that sells healthy and affordable foods, often contributing to poor diet, obesity, and other diet-related illnesses.

Construction of the Fresh Stop Market store is a step in the right direction to eradicate the Lower Ninth Ward from the USDA’s food desert census tract. With the opening of this store, residents will have daily access to fresh produce and a wellness center with a community learning kitchen to offer healthy cooking classes and cardiovascular health educational programs – allowing the community a greater opportunity for healthy living.

“This store and community learning kitchen will be a pillar of nutritional development for the adults and children of the Lower Ninth Ward,” said Rev. Richard Bell, board president of Sankofa CDC. “Under the leadership of Ms. Rashida Ferdinand, Sankofa has been instrumental in supplying our community with much-needed resources like the Fresh Stop Market store and the Wetland Park on Florida Boulevard, which gives the community and children a place to learn about nature while providing space for a nice family gathering.”

The project is funded in part by HOPE Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union, a community development financial institution that expands access to capital for communities that would not ordinarily obtain it.

“We know that having healthier food options in a neighborhood helps those community members reduce the risk of developing diet-related diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes; and so, as part of our mission to provide a substantial number of low-wealth communities and minorities with the financial tools and resources needed to achieve a better quality of life, it was only fitting that HOPE assist Sankofa in the development of the Fresh Stop Market store,” said Kathy Saloy, executive director of HOPE Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union. “Sankofa embodies all aspects of our mission, including innovation and strong leadership. This also fits our mission of providing more jobs in the Lower Ninth Ward, while enhancing the lives of those in this community.”

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