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Corey Givens Jr., says community co-ops an answer to St. Pete food deserts

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate Corey Givens, Jr. believes he has the answer to addressing the city’s food deserts.

Food deserts are described as an area, especially those having low-income residents, with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. By that definition, south St. Petersburg definitely qualifies.

Givens’ plan is to establish a community co-op between local nonprofits and small-business owners to provide low-income individuals and families with healthy food alternatives. He envisions an area where local residents can have a centralized location to shop, dine, and learn how to prepare low-cost, nutritious meals. And Givens says he’d utilize the space vacated earlier this year by Walmart in Tangerine Plaza as the best place to house the co-op.

And Givens says he’d utilize the space vacated earlier this year by Walmart in Tangerine Plaza as the best place to house the co-op.

“Our role as leaders is to connect citizens with the resources they need to live a healthy and productive life,” Givens said in a statement Thursday. “A shuttle service is just a temporary answer (referring to Mayor Rick Kriseman administration’s decision to have buses take Midtown residents to the Walmart on 34th Street North). We need long-term solutions that will put dollars back into the local economy.”

“A shortage of quality food and markets isn’t just a Midtown issue,” Givens added. “This is a quality-of-life issue that affects all residents in our city. We’ve lost two major grocery stores in the past four years. No retail tenant can succeed in Tangerine Plaza without addressing the needs of the surrounding community. Food access is directly impacted by poverty and transportation.”

Givens is one of eight people vying to succeed term-limited Karl Nurse as the next council member in District 6. The other candidates are Robert Blackmon, Jim Jackson, Maria Scruggs, James Scott, Gina Driscoll, and Akile Cainion.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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