"Food Desert" Problem in Rockford Neighborhoods

July 9, 2012 (ROCKFORD) "So it's just really messed up around here because we ain't got nothing," said area resident Joe Williams.

Frustrated with having to drive several miles just to get bread and milk, Joe Williams says the nearest grocery store for him Chiquita Food Market on South Main Street.

"We just need more stores. All these open vacant lots and they aren't doing nothing with letting it go to waste. They could be putting a little grocery stores on them or closer to people's houses," said Williams.

Opened in April, Chiquita hopes to fill a needy gap for residents in the 5th ward.

A ward once known as a food desert-- a term used to describe a community or an area without access to fresh produce or food.

"It's very difficult to establish and keep a grocery store going in the area," said Alderman Hervery.

Alderman Venita Hervery understands the need, which is why she fought for Chiquita after two grocery stores in the area failed.

"We have a very large foot population. Pedestrians population. People who don't own cars so it's important for that reason that also made it more difficult to bring in grocery stores," she said.

The alderman is working on several projects for her ward. She hopes to bring more grocery stores and fine dining to the area in the coming years.

"You're going to see some restaurants springing up, and I mean full service restaurants. Not just your small walk in eatery. We're not going to be as nightclub heavy," said Alderman Hervery.

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