Food revival comes to rural Illinois

Food revival comes to rural Illinois Main Photo

16 Jun 2023

Scott County People

For decades, the residents of Winchester, Ill., relied on the local IGA for groceries. When that store closed in 2015, followed by the Kroger stores in White Hall and Carrolton, the community lost all local grocery options. The vacancies meant the nearest grocery stores were in Jacksonville, 18 miles away, or Jerseyville, 38 miles away.

What remained were Dollar Generals and gas stations. Declining populations, economic downturn and shuttered grocers meant Winchester was officially a food desert.

“That’s not fresh produce,” says Thomas Coonrod, manager at Great Scott Community Market in Winchester. “It’s processed. When you’re in a food desert, all you have is convenience items.”

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