The issue of food scarcity and food deserts have led to protests and shined a spotlight on deep-rooted inequities in Chicago.

“It is an abomination to think that 10 miles from Englewood people are living twenty years longer because they have access to things they need,” said Ameya Pawar, Economic Security Project.

The non-profit Economic Security Project and the city are partnering to explore the creation of a municipally owned grocery store.

“Really it’s filling the gaps for the market and making sure that people have access to all the goods and resources that they need to survive and thrive,” Pawar said.

In the past five years on the South Side, store closings have included a Whole Foods, two Targets and three Walmarts. Pawar said the model of offering millions in city subsidies to large operators has failed, but while those businesses were beholden to bottom lines, a city-owned grocery could measure profit in a different way.