A nutritional oasis coming to a nearby food desert

What is the biggest issue facing South Apopka?

Ask that question to 10 people, and you are likely to get multiple answers. The problems in South Apopka have long been debated and are well known, if not always agreed upon. At the top of the list are crime, unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, education, and affordable housing. But there is another issue with far less fanfare or headlines that are fundamental to a flourishing community that South Apopka lacks – access to healthy food.

The United States Department of Agriculture has designated that 9.2% of households in the United States live in areas that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food. That’s 23.5 million Americans, and it includes the communities in South Apopka.

They call these areas “Food Deserts.”

What: Pop Up Farmer’s Market

Where: Temple of Faith Church at 1028 Marvin C. Zanders Avenue

When: 8 AM – Noon

Sponsored By: Inspire and Temple of Faith Churches

Simply put, food deserts are areas without grocery stores, which like many other businesses study the demographics of an area before deciding where to open a store. Impoverished areas in America don’t meet the predetermined demographic criteria for grocery stores to invest in building a location there. As a result, residents of these neglected neighborhoods only have access to small community stores that typically specialize in selling alcohol and junk food. A lack of transportation only worsens the lack of access. Most families in food deserts also live without a car, which means they rely on public transportation for their work commute and they typically walk to stores nearest their home for food.

There are hundreds of food deserts in America and the solution for each may vary based on how the local community chooses to respond. It is a large, complex issue that will require a long-term approach to provide a solution. However, large, complex issues, and long-term approaches require first steps.

And tomorrow morning, two small Apopka churches will take that first step together by providing fresh fruit and vegetables to the South Apopka community in a parking lot located at the corner of 10th Street and Marvin Zanders Avenue.

They call it a “Pop-up” Farmer’s Market.

The Inspire Church and Temple of Faith Church have partnered in this venture. Inspire will provide the fruits and vegetables, while the Temple of Faith will open up the parking lot across the street from its church to host the event. The Loomis Family Funeral Home also donated tents for the market.

“We can’t solve everything,” said Inspire Lead Pastor Denise Badger. “But I believe we can look at what’s before us, what real need we have become aware of, and determine what one thing we can do right now that can help. What is one step we can make today? One idea we can try to make this situation a little better? To let people know it won’t have to be like this forever. My hope is that this event will be the first step of many “right now” choices that will eventually, one day, mean South Apopka residents won’t be in a food desert any longer.”

The Pop-up Farmer’s Market starts at 8 AM and will conclude at noon or when the fruit and vegetables are sold out. The parking lot is located at 1028 Marvin C. Zanders Avenue in Apopka, across the street from The Temple of Faith Church.


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