The city’s Professional Services Evaluation Committee selected T. Brown Consulting Group LLC to conduct a study of food deserts and grocery stores in northwest Jacksonville.
The city says northwest Jacksonville is a “food wasteland,” where residents have limited options to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods and are asking for help to remedy this.
The contract is said to be no more than $ 105,000 and is due to close on March 31st.
Paul Crawford, deputy director of the city’s economic development agency, said the price had been negotiated and the completion date had a six-month extension option. The applicant’s original filing fee was a flat rate of $ 139,510. Crawford said T. Brown Consulting submitted “the most responsive response”.
The city opened deals on July 25 and responded to submissions for proposals from consultants to investigate the issue. The evaluation committee selected Riviera Beach’s T. Brown Consulting Group on August 30th.
In addition to T. Brown, two other companies submitted proposals: DRMP Inc. from Orlando and Mount Tabor Consulting LLC from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The consultant will research the food industry and provide food desert solutions as well as ways to encourage grocery stores to come to the neighborhood.
The study would be used by the city to develop policies and programs, including incentives, to bring grocery stores and educational programs to northwest Jacksonville.
In the call for proposals, the city stated that it would prefer consultants who have industry experience with food desert strategies and consultancy experience in the real estate and grocery industries.
A food wasteland is defined by the US Department of Agriculture as “a geographic area that has no access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome whole foods, and is usually found in impoverished areas, mainly due to the lack of grocery stores, farmers markets, and healthy food providers. “
The lack of healthy food means that residents may have no choice but to eat less healthy foods.
In addition to providing healthy food, grocery stores and other vendors would also improve the economic stability of the area.