Dallas Couldn't Buy Its Way Out of the Food Desert, So Now It's Hoping to Plant a Few Small Seeds

Big things did not happen in southern Dallas in 2016, when City Hall waved $3 million in front of grocers to build at least one healthy-eats oasis in the food desert. To be honest, no one at City Hall at the time actually thought the offer would get any serious nibbles. It was more of a goodwill gesture — proposed by Mark Clayton, a council member from the city's northern half — as a way to justify the $3 million Dallas was giving poor little Costco to open a store that might as well be in Richardson. Clayton said in May 2016 that his amendment was "a sincere attempt to proactively turn around parts of the city in desperate need."To which the big grocery stores said nah, no thanks. "Market conditions aren't ready" is how a city Economic Development official put it to me Wednesday. An H-E-B spokesperson told me in 2017 there just weren't enough residents in targeted areas to support a big store. And, those who are there living there, south of the Trinity River, didn't have enough money to make such operations sustainable.To its credit City Hall hasn't given up on trying to feed parts of this city where vegetables too often come in cans gathering dust on corner-store shelves and meat, when available, molders like a science project in coolers too warm to keep anything fresh for long. But since big didn't work, the city has decided to go small.  Continue reading...

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