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Grocery store aimed at ending food desert on southeast side

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Utopian Community Grocery store is opening this month and supporters say it’s aimed at ending the food desert on the southeast side of Fort Wayne. 

Utopian Community Grocery is set to open May 15th at 7a.m. according to a Facebook post. The store will have fresh produce from local farmers or community gardens.  

The USDA reported in 2017 that 10 percent of people in Allen County are living in a food desert.  

That means those people have low access to a grocery store with healthy and affordable options close to their home and that can lead to shorter life spans or chronic health conditions. 

The report also says communities of color and low income areas most often have the lowest access to healthy and affordable food options. 

Daylana Saunders from Changemakers says she knows first-hand how difficult it is to find healthy food options on the southeast side of the city.  

“In Fort Wayne, Black and brown communities have been dealing with this issue for many years,” Saunders said. “If you drive into those areas there's more access to smaller grocery stores that have more junk food, it's easier to grab a bite at McDonald's. It's not an option to go in your own neighborhood and have a healthy dinner." 

Council woman Sharon Tucker represents the southeast side of Fort Wayne. She says that area has always had lower access to healthy food and this affects people’s quality of life. 

"Not being able to know where you are going to be able to have access to food, knowing there's a place you can walk and get a healthy meal that means a lot to the community, it means a lot to people," Tucker said.
"I want all people to have access to healthy lives, I know that there's work that I need to do."

Tucker says this grocery store is the first step towards creating a healthier community. But her next step is helping give people better access to health care in the area. 

For more details about the store’s grand opening, click here.

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Karli VanCleave

Karli VanCleave is a multimedia journalist at WPTA for the evening newscast. Karli is a Fort Wayne native and Indiana University Bloomington graduate.
Feel free to connect with her on Facebook (@KarliVanCleaveNews) and Twitter (@Karli_VanCleave), or if you have a story idea send her an email at

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