It has been more than a year since the Dallas council members officially offered a $3 million incentive to a full-service, quality grocery store chain to build in southern Dallas.
As of May 24, the city has yet to receive any substantial proposals.
Meanwhile, 700,000 people continue to seek out alternative means for healthy food choice options while living in a food desert.
Members of “Feed Oak Cliff,” a non-profit organization focused on bringing quality grocery stores to the Oak Cliff community, have been reaching out to grocers for more than a year.
“We’ve called, we’ve emailed, I’ve written letters,” said Anga Sanders, Feed Oak Cliff’s founder.
“I’ve received the several excuses from grocery store chains. Some say, well there aren’t enough people in the area. Others say the income in the area isn’t high enough. I even had one HEB public relations representative say, ‘don’t hold your breath,’ and so its been frustrating," said Sanders.
"For the people who say ‘there’s not enough income’ that doesn’t make much sense, because everybody has to eat," Sanders explained. "That’s a commonality among human beings. So, who is to say that a mother with a small child would not rather feed her child carrots than Cheetos? The problem is, you don’t have access to the carrots."
Sanders, with the help of Feed Oak Cliff members and sponsors, organizes the “Dallas VegFest,” which is an annual free food and health festival celebrating healthy living. Last year the attendance doubled, and Sanders expects that trend to continue this year.
After months of fighting the need for a grocery store remains. Members of Feed Oak Cliff are now seeking other alternatives.
“We are still pushing for other grocery store chains to come in, but we need something now,” said Sanders.
The group traveled to Waco and took a tour of the “Jubilee Market,” which is a grocery store developed and purchased by the community.
“They even grow and sale their own food! I thought, well we can do that!” said Sanders.
Currently, members of Feed Oak Cliff are looking into ways they can adopt the same model in Waco.
Meanwhile, the city of Dallas is scheduled to vote Wednesday whether Bonton Farms will receive $100,000 to finish building their healthy food market. Bonton Farms is an urban farm in the south Dallas neighborhood of Bonton.
If approved by the city council, the $100,000 will come out of the South Dallas-Fair Park Trust Fund.