Home News Goodwill to Combat Food Desert in Northwest Roanoke

Goodwill to Combat Food Desert in Northwest Roanoke

Written by Hannah Guanti

Goodwill is slated to open The Market on Melrose in November, to combat the food desert in Northwest Roanoke. It is expected to create 70 local jobs in its first year. The market is part of a greater hub including restaurants, a bank, healthcare, and education for the community 

The market is being built in the heart of a food desert. The Food Empowerment Project defines a food desert as “geographic areas where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent due to the absence of grocery stores within convenient traveling distance.” 

Food deserts can have detrimental implications on the community including poor quality of food, increase in fast food options in the area, and the health conditions associated with poor diets in children and adults. 

To combat this, Goodwill is investing $20 million into this project and Roanoke City is assisting with $10 million in federal pandemic funds. 

The market will partner with MDI, a grocery distributor, to carry fresh produce and meats. More importantly, the market aims to have affordable prices for all of its products. 

The other businesses in the hub are expected to open in the coming years but the grocery store is the first step. Some of the specific projects are a branch of Bank of Botetourt, the Excel Center- an adult high school, and a wellness center to provide comprehensive healthcare. 

Goodwill reportedly is planning to purchase properties nearby as well in an attempt to combat other developments- especially ones that interfere with the mission. They may have plans to further develop on this land in the future.