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City wants to turn empty South Phoenix land into farmers market

The Phoenix City Council approved on Wednesday an agreement to create a farmers market on vacant land near 24th Street and Broadway Road.

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council has approved an agreement to allow a local company to operate a farmers market in an area of the city that's been designated as a "food desert."

During its Wednesday meeting, the council unanimously voted in favor of allowing MAA Wellness Center Inc. to turn a piece of city-owned land in South Phoenix into a farmers market.

The parcel has been empty for several years and is located on the southwest corner of 24th Street and Broadway Road. 

"Through the public engagement conducted as part of this process, the community cited the need for healthy food options as a top priority for this development and the area has been identified as a food desert," city records state.

The Arizona Department of Health Services website has designated this region as having low access to quality food options. Phoenix has up to 43 designated food deserts, a number that the city hopes to bring down to zero by 2050.

Councilman Carlos Garcia said he hopes activating this empty lot with a farmers market will get the community excited about what the future may hold for this part of Phoenix.

"This market will support South Phoenix farmers and being able to give them a place to sell directly to a community," Garcia said during Wednesday's council meeting.

The produce market is intended to be temporary until a development project advances on the vacant land.

Any licensing fees Phoenix receives from MAA Wellness Center's use of the property will be reinvested back into the city's Neighborhood Services Department, public records show. The city's agreement with the company lasts for 12 months and may be extended on a month-to-month basis.

Credit: AZ Dept. of Health
This state health map shows which parts of South Phoenix have been designated as a "food desert."

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