245709 Improving the options for healthy food in an urban food desert

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

Nadine S. Braunstein, PhD, RD, LDN , Office of Collaborative Programs, Towson University, College of Health Professions, Towson, MD
Juanita Ewell , Cherry Hill Community Development Corporation, Baltimore, MD
Meg Miller , Director, Community Relations, Harbor Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Background: The Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore is in a food desert. The grocery store closed several years ago, with a few fast food restaurants and corner stores the only places where residents can purchase food locally. High rates of poverty, chronic disease and obesity are prevalent. Intervention: In January 2010 a food committee was established that included representatives from the neighborhood, the hospital in the community, and a nutrition professor from a local university. Two grants were submitted in March and awarded that established a community garden / urban farm. Land owned by the Housing Authority of Baltimore was secured for the garden. Assistance with water access was facilitated by the city Planning Department. Elementary school children started the seeds and middle school children worked in teams with adults to plant and tend the garden. The second strategy started in September was a monthly farmer's market held in the parking lot of the local hospital. Additional vendors were sought to increase the food choices. Attendance is being tracked and if there is interest the frequency of the market will be increased. Finally, the community became a site for the Virtual Supermarket program in February 2011, sponsored by an independent grocery store chain in the city and the Health Department. Residents and employees of local businesses place orders using their own computer or at the library, with groceries delivered to a central community location the following day. Results: Data are being collected to monitor the participation in these programs. The community continues to work to expand access to healthy foods. Conclusion: In one year residents collaborated with local universities, city agencies and businesses to increase food choices to build a healthier community. A community garden, farmer's market and the virtual supermarket program were implemented.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
List three strategies for improving the options for healthy food in an urban food desert.

Keywords: Food Security, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a University Professor who studies food security and who actively participated in the implementation of the project in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.