Could the corner store aid in combating food deserts?

Fresh Produce Joins Chips And Candy

Food trucks and farmers’ markets have both been cited in the effort to help food deserts, areas in urban or rural communities where access to fresh produce is scarce.

The Healthy Corner Stores Network has started an initiative to put fresh produce in neighborhoods that need it most. The network encourages store owners to stock fresh fruit and vegetables in local convenience stores.

The initiative has been met with mixed results.

In Nashville, 19 out of 29 original pilot stores opened earlier this year remain. Some children still run straight for chips and candy, bypassing the fruit.

However for those without transportation to other markets, the ability to pick up fresh produce for their family is a blessing.

“Before, it was really hard for me, and I had to depend on family to get to the store. Fresh fruits and vegetables are what this neighborhood needs,” customer Leslie Johnson says.

Growing Pains

The Healthy Corner Stores effort understands there are issues to work out — what works, what doesn’t. Some items sell immediately, like potatoes, others are slower to take off.

In Washington, D.C., 21 stores have applied for Healthy Corner Store grants.

Getting the word out takes time, and convenience store owners have to be patient — they may lose in the beginning as customers adjust to their new options.

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