09:18 AM

More than nourishment - a source of neighborhood pride

With an aim to combat food insecurity and improve overall community health, a public-private partnership has opened a new community resource that provides fresh, free produce and pharmacy services in a historic and underserved Columbus neighborhood.

Representatives from the city of Columbus, community members and project partners gathered on Sept. 27, 2021, for the grand opening of the Linden All People’s Fresh Market. Located at 1464 Cleveland Avenue, the market is the culmination of an effort to transform the former Eagle Market carryout into a community hub for the city’s Linden neighborhood.

“A little more than a year ago, the city and like-minded community partners announced plans for the Linden Fresh Market, and we are proud to announce the opening of this neighborhood site of good will,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

Located northeast of downtown Columbus, the Linden neighborhood is a historic district that has suffered disinvestment, elevated infant mortality rates and barriers to health care, employment and transportation. According to the One Linden plan, a 2017 study of the neighborhood commissioned by the city, the roughly six-square-mile area had no full-service grocery store, which limited healthy food options for residents reliant on public transportation.

Ginther and the city announced plans for the project in July 2020 after collaborating with Linden neighborhood advocates and leaders, as well as community stakeholders and partners. Partners include Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio, Community Development for All People (CD4AP) and Nationwide.

“Access to healthy food is critical for families to thrive, and we are excited to help improve this access for the Linden neighborhood,” said Rev. John Edgar, executive director, Community Development for All People. “Many Linden residents already shop at our All People’s Fresh Market on the South Side. Bringing the same quality food closer to home will ensure that the new market will help many people eat better foods and live healthier lives.”

Run by CD4AP, the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Fresh Market is built to be a community hub that provides free fresh food and pharmacy services.

“Nationwide Children’s has been a proud member of the Linden community for more than 25 years through our primary care center and school-based programs,” said Tim Robinson, CEO, Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “But we know that health is about more than medical care. The Fresh Market and Charitable Pharmacy are natural next steps for us and our partners to make a different kind of impact, guided by the One Linden Plan and our conversations with the Linden community. We want every child and every family to succeed. When the Linden neighborhood thrives, we all thrive.”

Funding for the market is coming from Nationwide, which has committed a total investment of $1 million to CD4AP for use in the South Linden community, including $450,000 for the market, $75,000 of which is being used for the acquisition and installation of a walk-in cooler and associated equipment. Nationwide will provide the remaining balance over the market’s first five years at $75,000 annually to cover 50 percent of the market’s projected annual operating costs.

“We are excited to partner in what we believe will be a transformative community resource that will make a difference in the day-to-day lives of many Linden families and residents,” said Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker. “We’re committed to enriching the communities where our employees live and work. This is especially important to us because it’s in our hometown, and it brings to life our belief that all people should have access to meeting basic needs.”

Learn more about Nationwide's commitment to advancing food security in its Corporate Social Responsibility report.