Greene County gains insight on impact of food desert.
In 2019, the Carrollton IGA, in Greene County, closed. Two years later, Kroger grocery closed stores in Carrollton and White Hall, leaving only one grocery store in the eastern side of the Greene County. Illinois Extension worked with the Greene County Grocery Taskforce and the Greene County Health Department to better understand how residents were adjusting.
Jennifer Russell, Extension Educator, worked with the taskforce to survey people living in Greene County about the groceries they buy, and where they shop for groceries. More than 500 responses were received, and the results were shared with the public and businesses looking to offer grocery services to the region. According to the survey, 50% of respondents were greatly impacted by the store closures but were adjusting, and 33% were struggling to find alternatives. Many who were struggling were without convenient access to transportation. According to Jennifer Russell, a convenience store has opened in downtown Carrollton, and seems to be improving food access there. In Roodhouse, a meat distributor has expanded its services. The taskforce continues to work to attract additional grocery offerings to the county.
If your community is dealing with grocery store closures, consider conducting a survey of the market area. The Grocery Survey Sample Questions help you better understand the public’s needs and concerns while providing valuable information to potential new food businesses. The survey is concise but includes an open comments box asking for additional thoughts about the closing of, or need for, grocery stores in the county. This question provided valuable information and insights for local planning efforts.
Should you decide to use the grocery questionnaire or questions from the sample questionnaire, Jennifer recommends asking respondents to estimate the time, distance and cost of shopping outside the community.
Watch a short video on the community planning process and the Green County Grocery Survey.