New York's Fresh Bodegas Program Brings Farmers' Market Produce to Inner City Food Desert
In wealthier NYC neighborhoods, bodegas often stock a wide range of healthy produce, but in poorer areas your options are generally limited to four food groups: Sugary, highly processed, alcohol and tobacco. Photo: Paul Lowry/Creative Commons.
The phenomenon of healthy food deserts existing in America's poor communities is well documented. In New York City, GrowNYC is attempting to rectify the situation, partnering with prominent greenmarket vendor Red Jacket Orchards in the Fresh Bodegas program, making regular deliveries of produce to corner stores in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. From the GrowNYC website:
Fresh Bodegas will build the infrastructure to provide New York City residents with access to affordably priced, locally grown produce at the stores where they already shop. The installation of refrigerators featuring exclusively farm fresh products in participating stores will expand the floor space designated for healthy foods and maximize the display of local products. The refrigerators will be branded by Greenmarket and Red Jacket Orchards to endorse a healthier option alongside the coolers put in place by corporations who sell soft drinks, alcohol, and junk food in highly-trafficked neighborhood shops. In addition to providing refrigeration, the project aims to educate shop owners on food handling and sustainable agriculture, ever strengthening the connection between upstate producers and our city's many consumers. Hopefully the success of this pilot distribution route will allow the Fresh Bodegas project to expand to more neighborhoods where under-resourced bodegas are calling for fresh, local produce.
Not to much more to comment on as the project is just getting underway, but this is exactly the sort of project needed to get more healthy food into areas of the city where other options are limited.
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