Healthy Eating

Hamilton County Food Desert

Healthy eating is a vital part of healthy lifestyles. Not only do individuals need to have the knowledge about how to eat healthy but their surroundings also need to support those choices. In some neighborhoods, the only access to food are corner stores and convenience stores. Research conducted in 2007 by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency and supported by two Ochs Center reports in 2009 (report 1, report 2) categorized downtown and other areas of Chattanooga as having low –access to food or a food desert. At that time it was believed approximately 12% of the population who are low-income do not live close to a grocery store. In 2010 the US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service refined the definition of a food desert giving us a standard framework for identifying low-access areas. Today Step ONE estimates there are 71,959 (ACS, 2010-14) people living in the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Food Desert with over 22,878 or 32% (ACS, 2010-14) of those people living in poverty.

Hamilton County Food Deserts and Grocery Store Locations

Click on map for an interactive experience

To address these issues, Step ONE has collaborated with partners on the following:

  • Collaborated with several organizations to launch the Chattanooga Mobile Market (CMM)  (Link To Map)
  • Provided technical assistance to CMM partners on the “Healthy in a Hurry” corner store initiative to identify and recruit local corner stores for participation
  • Provided grant funds to 40 teaching gardens throughout Hamilton County
  • Served on the Tennessee Grocery Access Taskforce

Farms and Farmers Markets

As spring ends and summer begins, be on the lookout for a wide variety of fresh produce and other foods produced by the farmers in our region. Hamilton County is fortunate to have several farms and farmers markets providing these healthful locally grown products to our community. Step ONE has produced a map and brochure to make finding the nearest farmers market a little easier. Farmers Market Brochure

Hamilton County Farms and Farmers Markets
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Chattanooga Mobile Market

Mobile Market Logo

To address the increase in food deserts in Hamilton County following the closing of the Food Lion in 2012, several community partners including Step ONE, The Chattanooga Area Food Bank, YMCA, Grow Healthy Together Chattanooga, and Gaining Ground launched the Chattanooga Mobile Market. Each week, the mini grocery-store-on-wheels bring a grocery isle to locations throughout Chattanooga. The market’s stock consists of fresh produce and other healthy foods as well as household necessities at prices comparable to a typical grocery store.

The Chattanooga Mobile Market has 3 values:

  • Convenience – Groceries are brought to the neighborhoods so that healthy foods are more easily accessible.
  • Courtesy – Every single shopper is treated with the courtesy they deserve.
  • Consistency – Comes to neighborhoods each week throughout the year.

For more information on the Chattanooga Mobile Market and to see their schedule visit: http://www.ymcachattanooga.org/mobile-market

The Chattanooga Mobile Market from Greater Chattanooga

Making the Chattanooga Mobile Market from preventionspeaks on Vimeo.

         Chattanooga Mobile Market Stops

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Teaching Gardens

GardenGrant

Each year, Step ONE awards grants to applicants throughout Hamilton County who are interested in starting Teaching Garden Programs in their communities. The vision for the Teaching Garden Program is to create involvement and awareness to the connection between quality of diet and quality of health for children and their families. In addition, these gardens offer opportunities for people to learn valuable skills such as communication, responsibility, teamwork and leadership. These gardens are commonly focused in areas most affected by food access issues and in lower socio-economic communities; however, all applicants with a vision for improving nutrition and gardening education are considered.

To date, Step ONE has funded 40 teaching gardens. Locations include elementary schools, Youth and Family Development Centers, Chattanooga Housing Authority neighborhoods, churches, libraries and more.

Hamilton County Community Gardens

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If you are interested in starting a teaching garden, please contact Renee Craig at (423) 209-8090.