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Rural Food Deserts Grow With Closing of Jesup's Only Grocery Store


The city of Jesup's only grocery store is set to close next month, leaving more than 2,700 people without a primary resource for fresh food in their community. 

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Jennifer Zwagerman, Associate Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center, about how the closing of Jesup's only grocery store is indicative of a larger trend. Zwagerman says that recent grocery store losses in rural communities across Iowa are a serious concern, both in terms of nutrition and food access and for the broader social and economic health of these communities.

Also on the program:

  • Iowa Statehouse reporter Caroline Cummings gives updates from the Iowa state legislature.
  • Zachary Oren Smith, reporter at the Iowa City Press-Citizen, shares about the recent purchase of two mobile home parks in Iowa City and West Branch by Havenpark Capital, a Utah-based company known for raising rents by over 50%.
  • IPR's Clay Masters reflects on the life and continuing legacy of Des Moines Water Works' Bill Stowe, who passed away on April 14.
  • Grant Gerlock, IPR's Central Iowa reporter, discusses how Iowa businesses rely on immigrants to help them rebuild a shrinking labor force.
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River