Finding organic or natural foods in southern Dallas can be tough, but there's new hope that will change.
It all started when Anga Sanders wanted a fresh salad, and her search led to a shocking realization about southern Dallas.
“There’s a dearth of quality grocery stores in this vast area,” said Sanders.
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That led her to create Feed Oak Cliff, a non-profit organization that advocates for healthier food options south of the Trinity River. For nearly a year Sanders has been unsuccessful at trying to get big-name grocers to establish stores in the area that sell organic and natural products.
“I’ve called Whole Foods, Central Market – which is HEB – Kroger, Tom Thumb, Albertson’s and Sprouts,” she said. “The things that we can access by going to other areas, we need that right here, and we want it, and there's an audience for that.”
Like many of her neighbors, Sanders has pinned her hope to a vacant grocery store in the 2500 block of West Red Bird Lane near Hampton Road. The building was recently purchased and the owner has met with community and city leaders to discuss the desire to once again make it a grocery store. Sanders said it can’t be just any grocery store.
“A quality grocery store offers a variety of healthy food options – a lot of organics, fresh produce, fresh meats and seafood – not the leftovers, not the wilted lettuce,” she said.
District 3 Councilman Casey Thomas said making the quality grocery store a reality means breaking through the perceptions of southern Dallas and Oak Cliff.
“The thing that we're fighting against is the perception that individuals that live down here do not have the funds, do not have disposable income to support a healthy grocery store,” Thomas said.
“If you’re going to bring development to this neighborhood the people who live here are going to be the ones that have to support it."
Thomas said community input must continue in order to show potential developers that investing in the area can benefit the community and their bottom line.
“The first one to come is going to be just like the 49ers. They're going to say, ‘There's gold in them hills,’” Thomas said. “It should be the hub of the neighborhood. If you’re not going to do anything else, you’re going to eat and spend your money on groceries."