While the Marlborough neighborhoods struggle with significant challenges to access healthy food, they also contain a wealth of community leaders with innovative programs that are addressing those challenges. During our plan process, the Healthy Foods Access team, a group of people who live and work in the neighborhood, identified several key barriers to healthy food access that need to be addressed.
Residents have very few healthy food options in the Marlborough area- there are no grocery stores in the neighborhood, and smaller stores have not offered fresh fruit, produce, or many other healthy foods. Many residents don’t have cars and have to travel infrequent, long, and inefficient bus routes to grocery stores, facing challenges carrying and keeping groceries cold. Economic limitations are a significant barrier for many Marlborough families, who have to make tough choices to pay basic costs, and prioritizing healthy food can be difficult when it’s not accessible.
Despite these great challenges, Marlborough residents do have the support of a strong base of community leadership working to address these issues. Marlborough has nine hunger relief agencies within its neighborhoods that provide nutritious meals to children and families through after school programs, education and food pantries. An urban farm and several community gardens are growing fresh, local food right in the neighborhood. The Shamrock Corner Store was recently selected to participate in the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative, and is now offering fresh fruit and vegetables to customers. When we started the plan process, many of these programs did not know of each other’s work, and many residents were not aware of the opportunities available to them.
Through the planning process, the Healthy Foods Access team moved from an advisory function to a group of champions ready to coordinate and strengthen their work to increase healthy food access. They are developing strong relationships with each other, and with a number of aligned initiatives working to increase healthy food access in Greater Kansas City. They are poised to carry the torch forward, and implement healthy food access priorities through the following strategy: “
Vision for Healthy Food Access in Marlborough:
- Set up the Healthy Food Leadership Network and build network capacity
- Healthy Foods Leadership Network implementation strategy
- Build awareness and educate the Marlborough community to address internal barriers to healthy food choices. Create a hub for education through Marlborough School redevelopment.
- Coordinate with KC Water Services green infrastructure project for mentorship and job training to increase healthy food access
- Create a healthy food hub at Marlborough Village
- Plant Marlborough’s healthy food future through other Seed projects