The Food Trust in Philadelphia organizes the citywide Healthy Corner Store Initiative. Participating stores receive a $100 bonus when they join, baskets and refrigerators for displaying and storing fresh produce, and technical assistance. The Food Trust also introduces store owners to suppliers. This article profiles one store that has participated in the program for the past year. The store owner says people have been buying more produce and she “felt like it was a good investment.” Before the program started, the store carried only bananas and plantains; now it stocks a variety of other fruits and vegetables.
New York City’s Green Carts Initiative is part of the city’s strategy–along with its Healthy Bodegas Initiative–to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables in underserved areas. “Since 2008, the city has made provisions to authorize 1,000 new permits for street vendors who can sell only raw fruits and vegetables in areas of the city that have been designated as in need of them.” A new film, The Apple Pushers, explores the challenges these vendors face. Becoming a vendor of a mobile cart is less expensive than the start up costs for opening a brick and mortar store, and vendors can access low interest loans. Successful vendors tend to be resourceful, able to secure a good location, and build relationships with their customers. Other cities across the country are considering starting similar programs. The article goes on to describe other strategies for improving access to healthy foods in underserved areas.
Taking the idea of a pop-up shop to a new level, Popuphood is encouraging entrepreneurs in Oakland, California, to move into empty storefronts with the hopes of revitalizing a downtown Oakland neighborhood. Popuphood lets local businesses use building space rent-free for six months, with the hope that the store will stay on in the neighborhood. This concept could work very well for entrepreneurs who want to sell healthy foods in underserved city neighborhoods.
Check out the short documentary to see how popuphood and local entrepreneurs are striving to revitalize downtown Oakland.
Watch the short documentary below to see what popuphood is doing.
The Market Makeovers website is “a dynamic, user-friendly online toolkit about the process of transforming small corner stores to carry healthier food choices.” It focuses on the work of the South L.A. Healthy Eating Active Community Initiative and the group Public Matters. It includes resources describing how to do a corner store makeover, information about food deserts in L.A., and over 100 videos created primarily by youth. The site is described as “a way for everyone to dialogue, post and exchange questions and information.”
KXLY.com, September 20, 2011. A second healthy corner store is opening in a food desert in Spokane, Washington. Parkside Grocery doesn’t sell candy, liquor, or “junk food,” focusing on selling fresh foods like fruit and vegetables. The store also has a meat counter. The store accepts WIC and is hoping to encourage healthier eating. The store will feature “free fruit Fridays,” which allows children to come get a free piece of fruit each Friday.
New Haven Register, May 31, 2011. The second store in the New Haven Healthy Corner Store Initiative recently launched in Connecticut. Alycia Santilli, assistant director of Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at Yale University, discuses the challenges and motivations of the business owner to get involved. A healthy mix of incentives and caring for the health of the children in the community ultimately swayed Alex Haider to place healthy fruits and vegetables in a highly visible location in his store. The program will also tackle the challenge of distribution by offering free delivery at wholesale prices during the growing season.
WJRT, April 20, 2011. This video features an interview with an entrepreneur about her plans for The Healthy Dollar Store in Flint, Michigan. The Healthy Dollar will be modeled after stores where everything is sold for a dollar, but it will also sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Part of the funding for the store is coming from the nonprofit Extension Health, which might offer up to four more years of funding. The store will be partnering with Edible Flint and sell as much local produce as possible. The storeowner wants to encourage healthier eating while keeping fresh food affordable.