226787 Healthy in a hurry: Bringing fresh produce to one of Louisville's food deserts

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Josh Jennings , Public Health & Wellness, Center for Health Equity, Louisville, KY
Lisa Tobe, MPH , Center for Health Equity, Louisville Metro Department of Public Health, Louisville, KY
Residents of Louisville's Urban Core face challenges to accessing fresh, healthy food due to being marooned in a “food desert,” a community that has little to no full-service grocery stores and an overabundance of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Spurring the development of “big-box” stores such as supermarkets and first tier grocers is a complicated process that often takes years to accomplish. However, by working with a corner store (small-scale retail locations that sell mostly dry goods and convenient food items) in the Smoketown neighborhood, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness' Center for Health Equity (CHE) increased the amount of fresh fruits & vegetables sold in this low-income food desert. A University of Louisville evaluation team conducted a pre and post survey that found a 95% increase among participants in the amount of fresh produce consumed. The Louisville YMCA provided the initiative funding (dubbed “Healthy in a Hurry” by neighborhood youth), which covered refrigeration, signage, marketing materials and start-up inventory. Since the initiative launched in January 2009, the corner store has averaged $600/month in produce sales, with variable profit margins. CHE and YMCA have provided ongoing technical assistance and support to the store owner and outreach to the surrounding neighborhoods. By advocating for more public and private funding, we plan to expand the healthy corner store initiative to other communities. During this session we will discuss the strategies, challenges and corner store assessment methods we used to address this pervasive health inequity.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe at least one challenge and opportunity involved in healthy corner store initiatives.

Keywords: Food Security, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered