New Frankfort food market and pizza pub plans to battle food desert
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Locals Food Hub and Pizza Pub is aptly named offering a hybrid of a farmer’s market and a locally sourced pizza pub.
Co-owner Birch Bragg says it hopes to do several things under one roof, provide access to healthy foods seven days a week, help farmers sell their products and provide a local gathering place.
“We’re really excited to be in the position where we are right now, to be able to serve the community of Frankfort,” he said.
He says knowing the USDA classifies Frankfort as a food desert, a low income area where access to groceries is low, is one of the reasons he’s passionate about the market portion.
“The pandemic really exposed the fragilities and the weaknesses in our globalized food chain and now is really the time we need to double down as community members as business partners on our local foods and so we want to make it stronger,” Bragg said.
Jessica Klein studies food and hunger policy issues throughout the state with Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. She says one in seven people in Frankfort are struggling to get enough food.
“Having a local place that they can go to to buy healthy food is super important for those families,” she said.
Cost of healthy foods can sometimes be a barrier too. Klein says it’s key to realize locally sourced foods can last longer.
“I will also say prices have been increasing throughout the pandemic, so local food access that we know is going to last a little bit longer is super important,” she said.
Bragg says he’s already working on the cost. He hopes to be able to get approved to offer food assistance through the federal supplemental nutritional assistance program, SNAP.
“Price point is a challenge with local foods, and we want to make it accessible to all members of our community especially undeserved,” he said.
The market and pub will be open seven days a week and while it’s still in its construction phase now, Bragg says it’s scheduled to open mid-June.
“Let’s all come together let’s buy local food, let’s live local, and let’s all enjoy this together,” Bragg said.
The market is also hiring, not just employees, but also Central Kentucky producers who want to sell their wares at the hub.
You can apply be emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To see if your community is considered a food desert, USDA Economic Research Services has created an interactive map to look at data on food access across the country, click here to see it.