Social Entrepreneurship Students Take On Peoria’s Food Desert

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May 6, 2014

By Lindsay Anderson

Last week, students in Dr. Eden Blair’s social entrepreneurship class discussed financially sustainable projects to address South Peoria’s food desert with District 1 Councilwoman Denise Moore and the city’s alternative food strategies committee. Students prepared posters with possible solutions to the concern.

South Peoria residents’ lack of access to fresh produce and groceries has been a concern in recent years for the city council, especially as an Aldi store on Western Ave. closed in early 2014.

Students used entrepreneurial models to create data-driven systemic social change for the district. The research provided city leaders a range of options of grocery stores, food cooperatives, food trucks, community gardens, food education programs and transportation.

“This project was very exciting to work on,” senior entrepreneurship major Raven Fuller said.  “It not only impacts our local community, but also allows us to help ourselves and those around us while restoring a sense of community.”

Class members were challenged because they hadn’t yet encountered food deserts.

Senior Business Management major Arianna Favia also reflect on the challenges she and her group encountered while working on this project.

“It was all new information and it was difficult to know what would work,” said senior business management major Arianna Favia. “There were a lot of options, factoring in income, the size of buildings and price-pointing. It took time and data to determine what would be the most viable solutions.”

Moore expressed gratitude for the research.

“All of these concepts of what could happen will be utilized,” she said. “Not only have these students gotten closer to the community via these projects, but I sincerely appreciate all the time they put in and the information presented.”