Food Deserts & Finding Healthy Food On The Peninsula

Bi-Lo grocery storeFinding healthy food on the Charleston peninsula just got more challenging with the closing of the Bi-Lo grocery store on Meeting Street in late September. The closing means 36,000 people on the Charleston peninsula now have only two places at which to buy fresh, healthy food: Harris Teeter on East Bay Street and Food Lion on upper King Street.

The loss of Bi-Lo creates a “food desert” for many peninsula residents, severely limiting access to healthy food options. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as a “low access” community of at least 500 people who live a mile or more from a grocery store. The old Bi-Lo is about a mile from the Harris Teeter and Food Lion.

CARTA offered a temporary solution: they’re offering free bus rides for 30 days on Route 20, which connects the area immediately near the now-closed Bi-Lo to the King Street Food Lion. The question is, how do folks without reliable transportation get access to healthy, fresh food once those 30 days are up?

The city of Charleston has plans to bring a “fresh food market” to Hampstead Square on Columbus Street. Details of the plan have yet to be announced.

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