rural groceries

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

During this summer’s White House Conference on Aging, the U-S Department of Agriculture announced the start of a new pilot program to increase low-income seniors’ access to healthy food. The USDA hopes to allow seniors to use food stamp benefits on grocery delivery programs, a service that could help low-income seniors remain at home rather than moving to an assisted-living facility.

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said lack of transportation to grocery stores is one of the biggest reasons almost 3 million seniors struggle to access healthy foods. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help low-income seniors afford groceries, but less than half of eligible seniors use the program.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA News


The USDA estimates that more than 2 million people live in rural food deserts, or low-income communities more than 10 miles from a grocery store.  

Four years ago, the last grocery store in Pilot Grove, Mo., closed its doors, turning the town into a rural food desert.  The town had only a convenience store from which to bu food.   

That is, until 23 community investors came together to open Tyler's Market, a fully-stocked grocery store.  On the market's first day open, Pilot Grove residents gathered at the store.