According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a food desert is defined as “an area where little fresh produce is available for sale.”
Since the closing of Waterville’s only true grocery store several years ago, a local organization said the village has become a food desert.
The 4-Corners Food Co-op is in the beginning stages of forming a food co-op to serve the Route 20 Corridor from West Winfield to Waterville. The organization started working on this initiative in the winter of 2019.
“Founding members of the 4-Corners Food Co-op say they won’t wait for retailers to come to them. The aim is to develop a community-driven grocery market with a large portion of locally sourced products, and seasonal foods when possible as well as sourcing additional fresh and healthy foods within easy reach,” states a news release the group sent.
Members of the 4-Corners Food Co-op steering committee include Waterville residents Ben Wood, John Brouillette and Virginia Sparks; West Winfield residents Renee Winne, Kari Thomson and Cindy McMullen; and New Hartford resident Deborah Klippel.
Members of the co-op “are working to get the word out by aligning themselves with civic organizations that seek to improve the quality of life in our area, and by enlisting the support of their fellow residents,” they said.
The organization’s mission “is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that makes food affordable with access to healthy options a priority featuring fresh, seasonal local foods.”
A few of the objectives the organization is setting out to accomplish include maintaining a board that represents four counties; creating jobs and opportunities for residents, local farmers, artisans and bakers; and meeting the food needs of the community “instead of focusing on investor return.”
Brouillette, treasurer of the co-op and vice chair of Waterville First, said when Food King left Waterville, it created a food desert for…