Program looks to bring fresh food to 750 Memphis families

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Heart disease is a leading cause of death across Shelby County, an issue exacerbated by lack of access to healthy food options in many parts of Memphis. A national program is looking to do something about that. 

Through “Good Food for All” more than 700 families will receive free fruits and vegetables for three months. This is an effort to show the need for long-term changes in food equity. 

“I make sure I eat my fruits and vegetables. I don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with,” said Lakiesha Taylor, Memphis.

Taylor shops at Winchester Farmers Market in Hickory Hill for top-quality fruits and vegetables.

”They’re not old and brown and everything else,” said Taylor. 

But not everyone has that luxury. Data show nearly 30% of people in Memphis live in poverty.

“If you can have more accessible, more affordable for people, they’d be more inclined to do so,” said Taylor.      

A map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture highlights several areas in Memphis where people live between one and ten miles away from a grocery store, and the inability to get health food can be a killer.

”Heart disease is a leading cause of deaths for a certain group of patients,” said Dmitry Yaranov, MD/ Baptist Memorial Hospital Heart Failure Cardiologist. 

To raise awareness for the need for equal access to whole foods and reduce heart disease, Partnership for a Healthier America teamed up with Shelby County Schools to offer 750 families fresh fruit and vegetables for three months through the initiative Good Food for All.

”Living a healthier lifestyle is hard for a multitude of reasons. It’s access to it, it’s more expensive to get a healthy meal as opposed to fast food,” said Yaranov. 

“It’s very important for your health, skin, and for your hair in general,” said Taylor. Nationwide this program will bring more than 15 million servings of high-quality fruits and vegetables to more than 17,000 families.