April 10, 2012 in News, News & Events
DCentric, April 10, 2012.
Newly-elected Washington D.C. councilman Marion Barry recently criticized Asian-owned corner stores in D.C., saying the shops are “dirty.” Later he said they should sell healthier products and improve their stores. The councilman is being criticized for the negative remarks he made about Asian store owners, and the incident has people talking about the sometimes tense relationship between the Asian and black communities in D.C.
This article describes some of the challenges small stores face in selling healthier products, and includes an interview with an Asian store owner who participates in DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners Program. The program–funded with a $300,000 grant from the city–includes the launch of an affordable wholesale delivery service that store owners can use to order healthy foods. The store owner interviewed in the article points out that not all Asian store owners have bad relationships with their customers, and suggests that communication can be difficult not only for “Asian retailers, but pretty much all immigrants in the community…The immigrants have the same issue where there’s a language barrier, and also the cultural differences they haven’t quite grasped. It’s just a process they go through. I don’t know how to close that gap real quickly.” He also suggests that customers ask their local store to carry healthier options or specific products they are interested in.
December 1, 2010 in Reports
Approved in December 2010. The FEED DC Act will expand access to healthy foods in Washington D.C. by improving existing food stores (including corner stores) and attracting new stores to underserved areas. It will also provide support for farmer’s markets and fruit and vegetable vendors. Besides improving access to healthy foods, the Act will also encourage green technology in food stores and promote job creation in areas with high levels of unemployment. The Act will use private and public funds. It outlines plans for a “Healthy Corner Store Program” to assist corner stores by providing grants, loans, tax credits, equipment and other financial and technical assistance on a competitive basis. The Act will also “develop a plan for establishing a commercial distribution system for fresh produce and healthy foods to corner stores” and “assist corner stores in becoming more energy efficient.” Up-to-date information on the FEED DC Act can be found here
January 1, 2009 in Reports
D.C. Hunger Solutions, 2009. This 22-page report describes the work of the D.C. Healthy Corner Store Program, providing a good overview of the opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned in distributing fresh produce to small-scale stores. The project’s focus groups found strong demand for affordable, high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables among both adults and children. They tested two types of cooperative distribution models that emphasized local and/or organic produce. Overall, the majority of the stores experienced success in selling fresh produce.
- Store Participation Agreement on pages 16-17