Healthy Corner Store Program
What is it?
The D.C. Healthy Corner Store Program worked to reduce food insecurity and improve D.C. residents' health by analyzing ways that small retailers could improve customer access to fresh produce, low-fat snacks, nutritious beverages, and other healthy foods in neighborhoods without adequate supermarkets and other sources of affordable healthy food.
The program also aimed to support corner grocery stores by expanding their capacity to sell healthy foods and increasing their profits from healthy foods.
Materials developed include:
D.C. Healthy Corner Store Program brochure
The Health Corner Store Program was funded by the District of Columbia Department of Health, Community Health Administration.
DC Central Kitchen Launches Healthy Corners
In fall of 2011, DC Central Kitchen launched an affordable wholesale delivery service –featuring fresh local produce and healthy snacks— at participating corner stores in Wards 5, 7, and 8. DC Central Kitchen’s nationally recognized Culinary Job Training program will supply skilled workers to help with the daily operation of Healthy Corners. As the result of the FEED DC and in conjunction with the District of Columbia’s Department of Small and Local Business, D.C. Department of Health, and D.C. Hunger Solutions, D.C. Central Kitchen is helping to bring healthy affordable food to the District’s Food Deserts.
Healthy Corners builds on D.C. Hunger Solutions’ Healthy Corner Store Program that was funded by the D.C. Department of Health, Community Health Administration. For more information, visit the Health Corners page on DC Central Kitchen's website.
D.C. Hunger Solutions Corner Store Survey
During the first year of the Healthy Corner Store Program, D.C. Hunger Solutions surveyed about half the corner stores in Wards 7 and 8 and interviewed the stores' owners to learn about barriers to and possibilities for increasing their inventory of fresh produce and other healthy foods.
The results of that research are summarized in our October 2008 report Creating Healthy Corner Stores in the District of Columbia (pdf). This report also recommends strategies and opportunities for corner store operators, District agencies, and the community to increase the availability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods. The recommendations in the report incorporate the insights of 50 representatives from various District agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations who participated in a Healthy Corner Store Summit in March 2008.
Together with the Department of Health, D.C. Hunger Solutions developed healthy food marketing materials and a guide to selling healthy food for store owners. These materials were piloted in three stores in September 2008. Each store also received two weeks' worth of fresh fruit and a colorful display stand. The pilot showed that many customers want to buy fresh fruit and vegetables if they are available, affordable and advertised
In Phase Two, D.C. Hunger Solutions:
- Developed D.C. healthy corner store standards, recruited 12 stores to participate as members of the Healthy Corner Store Program and provided technical assistance to member stores.
- Conducted nutrition education that focused on healthy snacking at corner stores and engaged youth in advocating for healthy food in their communities.
- Worked to connect corner stores with sources of quality, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.
Why corner stores?
Across the United States, communities are recognizing the connection between the local food environment and residents' nutrition and health. Research demonstrates that "food deserts" - low-income areas that lack access to supermarkets and other sources of affordable healthy food - contribute to obesity and poor health outcomes.
Such a scenario exists in the District of Columbia: Wards 7 and 8 (east of the Anacostia River), which have the District's highest poverty rates, also have the highest obesity rates and are home to large food deserts.
One piece of the solution to this complex problem is to improve access to healthy food in low-income areas by expanding corner stores' capacity to sell healthy foods. Small corner stores are abundant in communities where supermarkets are missing, but they typically sell only packaged foods high in fat, sodium and sugar.
How D.C. Hunger Solutions can help:
- Educate interested community groups or retailers on FEED DC.
- Provide training in the Healthy Snacking at the Corner Store curriculum (pdf) for your school or afterschool/summer program site.
- Provide promotional materials (pdf) to help you find your local Healthy Corner Store, request new products, and spread the word about it.
- Help your organization, school, or neighborhood group "adopt" a corner store.
For more information...
To learn more about healthy stores projects around the country, visit the Healthy Corner Store Network.