Ending Food Deserts

Guest Post by by David Z for Mayor and Patricia Lucas

I want Sioux Falls to be a thriving, robust city with healthy citizens. Healthy citizens need a nutritious diet based on regular access to fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.

This goal has become increasingly challenging. In our state of South Dakota, one out of nine individuals is food insecure and one of every six children is at risk of going hungry. The closure of grocery stores, higher cost of food, transportation limitations, and the COVID pandemic make the problem of food access critical. Some areas of Sioux Falls don’t have nearby supermarkets – they are food deserts. Food deserts occur most often in rundown parts of a city when grocery stores move away from high crime and low income areas. The HyVee on Kiwanis Avenue recently closed creating a food desert.

A former manager of this supermarket commented on www.reddit.com that the closure of this store “will undoubtedly impact countless families and individuals who shopped there on a highly consistent basis. A majority of the clientele were elderly, disabled, and lower income shoppers who may already have a difficult time in getting to the grocery store, especially in frigid winter months … it really is leaving behind a food desert.”

This is a crisis for our city of Sioux Falls. Malnourished people can become obese, have heart disease, and suffer from type 2 diabetes. Children can suffer even more. Hunger can slow their mental and physical development. They don’t do well in school and have lower graduation rates. Hungry children often don’t reach their full potential and remain disadvantaged during adulthood. Hunger results in reduced health and that increases medical costs and expensive emergency room visits.

A short term solution for hunger is providing food access through charities and government programs like food stamps and subsidized school lunches. While these excellent programs solve critical needs, they don’t solve the whole problem. We can make food more affordable by removing the sales tax on food. City government can subsidize placing grocery stores in food deserts and thereby increase local access to healthy nutritious food at reasonable cost. Urban agriculture can provide gardeners with delightful fresh fruits and vegetables. We can support the health and welfare of Sioux Falls by investing in our citizens of all ages, sexes, income levels, and races. We improve the present and build the future. Let’s solve local hunger together.



22 comments ↓

#1 Oh Myikes! on 01.18.22 at 9:27 pm

Maybe the City has a building they can lease for $1 to be a grocery store.

#2 l3wis on 01.18.22 at 9:43 pm

They do, right across the street from the EC to the West. I think it used to be the SF Utilities building and I think they use it now for storage.

#3 D@ily Spin on 01.19.22 at 10:53 am

Sad that the HyVee at 10th and Kiwanis closed. I went there often. They often seemed busy. I noticed many walked there. Many were seniors with limited income. Lots of food subsidy customers. Another grocery chain should consider taking over this location.

#4 Hooterville's Boutique Grocer on 01.19.22 at 1:13 pm

This problem will not be solved in SF with the current administration. The mere fact the mayor used the word “boutique” with a smirk in his recent interview, on this matter, is indicative of the underlying arrogance of our current administration. But then again, this is the same mayor who praises Dr. King, but can’t make it to a Pride event, so why are we surprised? #PhonyPhony #TaupevilleIndifference

#5 For Profit? on 01.19.22 at 3:39 pm

Last I checked, grocery stores were for profit? Evidently, that store wasn’t profitable enough to keep open. When Sunshine sold it, I’m told they had a non compete, and by keeping the pharmacy etc there, well Sunshine can’t come in. The only hope is Fareway, but with all the Democrats just walking out with things they should be paying for, and not getting charged and thrown in jail, would you build a new store in a location like that?

#6 l3wis on 01.19.22 at 4:32 pm

Well, if it was a HyVee, it was probably making money, they are the most expensive GS in town. As I understand it, they are not selling the building, they are going to use it for a distribution center for Aisles online.

#7 LJL on 01.19.22 at 8:09 pm

I’m quite certain John and Jane Q public like me find this premise of “food deserts” in this city to be ludacris. Moved to Howard and the Dollar Tree is your only shopping option.

Sheesh. The endless hyperbole.

#8 anominous on 01.19.22 at 10:05 pm

yeah how does Hy-Vee ever pay for all the A-list celebs and song rights in all their new ads with their low low prices.

#9 Conservative Here on 01.20.22 at 9:34 am

I find the “food desert’ description in Sioux Falls laughable. Sioux Falls is about 10 miles by 10 miles wide give or take. Its 2.3 miles from 10th and Kiwanis to Sunshine downtime. I am not saying that if you normally walk that is not going to be a longer trek but, most people have transportation and we have plenty of bus routes to take you from that area to a grocery store. I am NOT saying its not inconvenient but, using words like “food desert” makes it sound like the evil Hy-Vee took away food from one part of town. If there is any money to be made, someone will swoop in a take up space somewhere. If you need quick items like milk, bread, etc., Lewis has these things and they are right next door as does Walgreens down the street. Since Hy-Vee is already pretty spend I a doubt Lewis is much different but, lets spare the outrage can we. This is not Detroit where you have to go 15 miles with our flak vest on to get to the store

#10 l3wis on 01.20.22 at 9:41 am

I would agree it is not hard to find a GS in SF. But the irony is that HV is going to still use the space for aisles online. I think that since GS’s make millions from taxpayer subsidized SNAP and do it secretly upheld by SCOTUS there should be at least a few regulations about food deserts in an urban area. If HV refused SNAP then I would say they can do what they want.

#11 D@ily Spin on 01.20.22 at 9:52 am

The new Banquet building will finally get used. Many indigent who used HyVee can go there if they don’t fall into the granite quarry along the way. It’s sad when one must travel distant via an obstacle course to get food. How about parachute relief into the area like as for Ghana and Haiti?

#12 Conservative Here on 01.20.22 at 10:14 am

What does taking SNAP have to do with them closing a store. If they refused SNAP than there would be articles on here about how the most dominate grocery store in town in refusing to serve the poor and their greed. Ya just cannot win sometimes you guys on here. HyVee made a business decision, just because they accept SNAP means nothing, nor does the amount of money they make off it. Heck just about every place that sells any kind of grocery item accepts SNAP, even gas stations. The arguments just keep getting Ludacris and my only point was to stop with the hysteria around making it appear that Hyvee is trying to make it hard for people to get food by using terms like Food Desert, just over the top

#13 l3wis on 01.20.22 at 11:10 am

First off I agree with you, I don’t think we have a problem, this was a guest post. Secondly, the place isn’t closing you can get deliveries from that HV location. Thirdly I disagree with SCOTUs that businesses that make millions in sales from taxpayer subsidies should be able to hide those sales. Hospitals have to report what they get in Medicare payments, SNAP should be no different.

#14 l3wis on 01.20.22 at 11:35 am

I actually think many GS’s and C-stores would go out of business if it were not for SNAP

#15 Conservative Here on 01.20.22 at 12:31 pm

Well of course they would go out of business because the 30-40% of people that rely on tax dollars to feed them could not buy food, I mean the demand would shrink as that is just common sense. I understand this is a guest post but SNAP has nothing and I mean nothing to do with a grocery chain deciding to repurpose or close a certain store, they are not related in any way. I just object to the premise as a whole and how this is really something we should be concerned with at all frankly. Sometimes we sit here and think this is Detroit or Baltimore, its flipping Sioux Falls. We are very blessed to live here and as a whole this is a great place to live but, we have bigger fish to fry then whining about one grocery store closing in a city where you can get anywhere in a car in about 15-20 minutes.

#16 l3wis on 01.20.22 at 2:32 pm

I can tell you from someone who frequents the DT Sunshine that over 50% of the people walking in and out are in foot. No bus or cab or bike. It amazes me that you make the assumption that everyone has access to transportation.

#17 LJL on 01.20.22 at 7:00 pm

Seriously, what the hell is the point of a bus service if you can’t use it to get to a grocery store.

It’s just full of shit logic to say that someone can’t get on a bus near the closed HyVee and take a ride downtown or to another HyVee.

Fear Porn. This so called controversy is just more fear porn from likes of David Z.

I drove by the closed Hyvee yesterday…I saw starving elderly and children everywhere!!! It’s been 3 weeks since these people ate. OH THE HUMANITY!

#18 l3wis on 01.20.22 at 8:34 pm

LJL, I feel like a gigantic A-Rod. I was unaware that public transit and taxi service was completely FREE to poor people in Sioux Falls. Could you provide us a helpful link to where to sign up for this?

#19 The Guy From Guernsey on 01.20.22 at 8:55 pm

“… we have plenty of bus routes to take you from that area to a grocery store.”
Here is a challenge, C Here.
I challenge you to take a bus from the area of this former store to the Hy-vee at 26th and Marion, shop for your groceries, then return to the point of origin (with your groceries in tow). Try it after 6 p.m. Report back to us on the length of time that this takes … if you are able to complete that circuit before the last run of these plentiful bus routes.

#20 LJL on 01.20.22 at 9:56 pm

Again with the exaggeration that people can’t afford the bus. It’s 75 cents. You know damn good if it wasn’t for the “poor” or seniors, those buses wouldn’t be running already. Just curious, if the poor can’t afford a bus ride, why would the Banquet locations need large parking lots?

https://siouxfalls.org/sam/general-info

I guess that’s why all those people were starving in the streets…They couldn’t afford the bus pass. So now we have “Mobility Deserts”. PLEASE LORD HELP THOSE SOULS ESCAPE THE SIOUX FALLS DESERTS!

More fear porn please.

#21 l3wis on 01.21.22 at 9:58 am

I am going to try to find the article tonight, but I think KC started a free public Transit program, and they saw more people working because of it. We already subsidize PT might as well just make it free for a certain income level

#22 LJL on 01.22.22 at 11:17 am

I wholeheartedly agree with that idea! Your snap or WIC card should be your free bus pass.