Food deserts are areas in a city without access to healthy food like fresh fruit and vegetables. They are often plagued by an overabundance of fast food establishments and liquor stores offering cheap calories but not proper nutrition for locals. Healthy Corner Stores is one project that has started in other cities across the country to combat food deserts within existing infrastructure by encouraging and teaching local corner stores to stock produce and healthier staples.
An interesting challenge of Healthy Corner Store projects is working not only with owners but also suppliers. Since these stores are smaller than a produce aisle at the grocery store one technique to avoid over stocking and loss of produce is to receive smaller deliveries more often. Another challenge is that often corner stores serve ethnic communities with certain food traditions that have different values and visions of healthy than our standard food pyramid. But, by working on a store-by-store basis, it is easier to serve each community’s needs.
Soon, a similar project will start in the Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco. The Southeast Food Access (SEFA) Food Guardians and the Bayview HEAL Zone have announced the public launch of their Bayview Healthy Corner Store program. A special event will be held on January 24, from 10am – 12pm at Lee’s Market on January 24, 2013 from 10am-12pm.
This multi-partner project joins corner storeowners that want to offer healthier food in the community with the SEFA Food Guardians and grocery store design consultants from Sutti Associates and is supported by Kaiser Permanente’s Bayview HEAL Zone Initiative.
By Caroline Kangas, OFPC Intern