Danville entrepreneur uses health background to educate others

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) One Danville man is telling his story to try to educate people about real foods and why what you are eating is so important.

His name is Steve DelGiorno and you may recognize that name because he just opened Chatham Public House not too long ago, he's the owner of 616 Farm to Table in Danville and now, he has another project in the works.

DelGiorno wants to convert a vacant building on North Main Street into a fresh farmer's market.

It's all because just a year and a half ago, despite a clean family history, he was diagnosed with diabetes.

"I was eating all the wrong foods, I was drinking too much alcohol, I had a lot of stress. It was this perfect storm that came together," he says.

Instead of depending on insulin, he decided to make a diet change. Now, he wants to educate the region.

Danville is ranked 129 out of 133 on the health rankings scale. A big problem is obesity, and what DelGiorno has himself, diabetes.

"A lot of that is income driven, and it's also driven by the fact they don't have access to fresh foods nearby where they live. It's legally defined as a food desert by the USDA," says DelGiorno.

A food desert, by definition, is "Part of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas," which is why he wants to locate where he does.

Danville has some of the highest obesity rates, and not as much access to good foods.

His goal is to have the first floor be the fresh farmer's market, and the second be a commercial kitchen where he can hold pro bono cooking classes.

He wants to teach people how to cook from scratch again.

"We want to bring back the concept of "real food." It doesn't have to be organic. It doesn't have to be GMO free. It just has to be real," he says.

The new farmers market will be called the Neapolis Market.

He is hoping to have it up and running in the next six to nine months.