Healthy food options aren’t always accessible in the University of Minnesota community. In a survey conducted by the University’s Obesity Prevention Center, nearly 87 percent of the 1,162 respondents said high prices are a barrier to buying healthy food.
With the small grocery store House of Hanson soon closing, the Dinkytown and University community is left without a grocery store. It is common for students to have to shop for groceries at the CVS locations around campus, which are limited in their supply of affordable, healthy food. Though it may have other small shops, the community is void of a grocery store capable of supplying University students these food choices.
The traditionally more upscale Lunds grocery store in the Northeast neighborhood of Minneapolis is the closest large grocery store in the University student community. The barrier to healthy food may be a problem of both cost and accessibility.
This isn’t just a problem with the University community but also with numerous areas in Minneapolis as well, such as northern Minneapolis and Robbinsdale. The student demographic consists of unique challenges to attain healthy food, such as a lack of vehicles, lack of time, the creation of designated student neighborhoods and generally lower incomes.
While the University offers meal plans to students living on campus that provide healthy food options, students living off campus do not have these options. With plans of a new grocery store at the site where the University Technology Enterprise Center once was, there is hope for the community to offer more healthy food options in the future. The planning entities involved should prioritize a business capable of providing these options.