Courtesy Pixabay

An effort to develop a co-op grocery store in Louisville will get a $20,000 shot in the arm from the U.S. Conference of Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

The technical assistance grant moves the Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE) a step closer to getting the Louisville Community Grocery off the ground. The project will be a member-owned grocery store with affordable, local, sustainable and healthy food options for members and the general public.

The groundwork for it takes place as major grocery chains diminish their presence in Louisville’s urban core and more than 120,000 people grapple with food insecurity in Louisville.

“A community-owned grocery store will be a big win for Louisville’s urban neighborhoods and redevelopment efforts generally downtown,” said LACE’s treasurer, Amanda Fuller, in a news release. “We believe neighbors hold the key to economic development, and a cooperative enables Louisvillians to take more control over our own food system.”

Photo by Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service

Members would pool their money together to help get the store started and be given a chance to decide later whether to invest profits into other community endeavors.

Neighborhoods being eyed as a possible location include Smoketown, Shelby Park, Old Louisville, Russell, Portland and Shawnee.

The $20,000 grant will help with various tasks and projects, including training board members, co-op owners and community members; launching and promoting an ownership campaign; conducting a market analysis with support from UFCW Local 227; and exploring partnerships and innovation.

Randy Keesler, a grant specialist for the human development campaign, said the project was worthy of funding because it involves expanding food access, supporting the local food economy, employing local workers and providing wealth creation opportunities for the co-op’s owners and workers.

“This is exactly the sort of projects we want to fund,” he said in the release.

A benefit show is set for 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at Kaiju, 1004 E. Oak St., and a fundraising event is planned for April 9 at Against the Grain, 401 E. Main St., from 6 to 9 p.m.


Darla Carter
Darla Carter is a hometown girl who recently joined the staff of Insider Louisville to mostly cover health. She previously served as a longtime health and fitness writer for The Courier-Journal, where she also worked for the Metro, Neighborhoods and Features departments. Prior to that, the award-winning journalist wrote for newspapers elsewhere in Kentucky and Tennessee, covering a range of topics, from education to courts. She's a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she studied journalism and philosophy, and is the proud mom of two young children.