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York Road Initiative introduces FreshCrate to extend food access in Govans community

| By Stephanie Weaver
FreshCrate

Loyola University Maryland’s York Road Initiative introduces FreshCrate, a program to extend and promote affordable, healthy food access in our York Road neighborhoods by making fresh produce available in local corner stores.

Through FreshCrate, neighborhood corner stores can more easily purchase fresh, seasonal produce from Parkhurst, Loyola’s dining vendor, for resale to customers out of crates physically located in store. The program will celebrate its launch on Friday, Oct. 23, at 4 p.m. at FreshCrate’s partner store, Family Food Market, located at 5413 York Road. Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry, Parkhurst representatives, and others integral to the opening of the store will be present at the launch.

“Our Jesuit mission challenges all of us to do more for those most in need,” said Erin O’Keefe, director of the York Road Initiative and interim director of the Center for Community Service and Justice. “FreshCrate is a partnership among stakeholders who have acted on this challenge with a collaborative and innovative vision that benefits thousands of people who have long been deprived of the grocery options so many other communities take for granted.”

FreshCrate builds on the success of YRI’s Govanstowne Farmers’ Market, established four years ago as the beginning of what is now an ongoing effort to increase access to fresh produce in an area identified as a food desert. There are no supermarkets in Govans, and the small corner grocery stores in the neighborhood generally do not carry popular fruits and vegetables commonly found in supermarkets. Community residents lack both access and sufficient economic resources to obtain healthy food.

Govans is located along the York Road corridor immediately east and north of Loyola’s Evergreen campus. Loyola’s YRI leads efforts to improve the lives of those living, learning, and working in the Govans community.

FreshCrate is made possible by a grant from the United Way of Central Maryland and supported by the Govans Business Association and the York Road Partnership.   

Store owners interested in FreshCrate should contact John Bernet at jgbernet@loyola.edu or 410-929-2158.
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