Food Lion arrives while efforts to fight food deserts continue

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 7:44 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Food Lion has officially opened in Albany with three locations. We’re told they could help end food deserts in the city.

On Wednesday, the Food Justice Coalition told WALB their fight is not over.

Food Lion replaced the Harvey’s Grocery Store locations in Albany.

“They are just replacing the Harvey’s that were here before. Of course, that puts us in the same position that we were when we started this work. There still only one grocery store for the entire south side of Albany,” Commissioner Demetris Young said.

When Harvey’s closed, Commissioner Young said a new problem was created.

“That left us with things like dollar stores and convenience stores. While they’re convenient, they don’t have the healthiest options for our residents.”

In response, the Food Justice Coalition, which Young volunteers for, hosted a Pop-up Farmer’s Market until the Food Lions arrived. It also helped people who didn’t have transportation.

“It’s kind of a hardship for them to take two or three buses to the westside or the eastside or the northwest side of town,” he said. He also said he expects the pop-ups to continue.

The arrival of the Food Lions comes exactly one year after the City of Albany had its first community mapping event to determine high food insecurity areas.

The new Food Lion on Radium Springs is one of three that opened Wednesday.
The new Food Lion on Radium Springs is one of three that opened Wednesday.(WALB)

One hundred and twenty food access stores were surveyed as part of The Food Security Initiative. Some partners included Georgia Tech and Albany State University.

They found that Ward Six in South Albany “had the lowest number of food access stores”. Wards One and Three had the highest.

Jwana Washington, director of the Southwest Georgia Project, said afterward “a strategic partnership with the food coalition and Georgia Tech,” was formed.

“We are continuing those efforts. We have the data hub on the City of Albany’s website, we have small bites, we have community gardens at every elementary school,” explained Washington.

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