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North county nonprofit providing healthier options in a food desert

'A Red Circle' nonprofit is looking to raise money to continue efforts to grow nutritious food for north county residents living in a food desert and swamp.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Erica Williams, executive director of the nonprofit "A Red Circle", remembers when north St. Louis County had healthier food options.

"I grew up in the Normandy area and at that time we had Schnucks and Kroger and National. It was not a food desert or a food swamp," Williams said.

Since then, she says the area now has little to no access to affordable, nutritious food.

"As those stores closed, as people move out of the region, no one comes in to fill the gap, and so eventually what we get is a lot of corner food stores that have very little nutritional foods in them," Williams said.

In September of 2020, she started the Healthy Flavor Community Garden in the Riverview neighborhood on Chambers Road.

"We are working here in north county to mitigate what is a food desert and a food swamp. So, the money for Giving Tuesday that we're raising is going to go back into the garden back into healthy food access in north county," Williams said.

Williams is looking to raise $20,000 to buy more seeds, pay staff and continue to provide healthy food for the north county community.

"We grew brussels sprouts, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, onions, garlic, tomatoes, several fresh herbs, lettuces, the best cucumbers," Williams said.

Now that their first full, growing season is finished, Williams says the money will improve the garden and allow them to plant more crops for next year.

"People were so excited to get the food that we were growing, because they don't see that in the stores that's in this area," Williams said.

For more information on how to donate visit the A Red Circle website.