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A food co-op for Syracuse's south side

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Ellen Abbott

A food co-op is sprouting up in the middle of Syracuse's south side.  It's a way to bring fresh and healthy food to residents of a neighborhood that can't always get it.

"This used to be, back here, an old garage. We called it the barn." Longtime south side resident Addie Hightower described, Friday, what the vacant lot between Colvin Street and Brighton Avenue used to be. But things are changing with a groundbreaking on a new south side food cooperative.

The cooperative will offer nutritious and affordable food, accessible to a neighborhood called a food desert by the federal government.  South Side Community Coalition President Joseph Bryant says there's nowhere for people to shop for fresh groceries.

"We don't have a small supermarket or a grocery store within a mile.  In 2009, they closed the P&C which is actually about a mile away, but even before that we hadn't had a supermarket in this immediate area," Byrant said.

Funding for the project is coming from some state grants, some local foundations and a one-time grant from Syracuse University.   The 3,000 square foot grocery store and cafe should be open for customers by the end of the year.  Hightower expects it will be popular.

"It'll  provide a choice for the residents to be able to shop and see what good produce looks like," Hightower said.