Developing our Healthy Corner Stores Project in Miami Gardens over this past year has been such an adventure! We are now on the cusp of bringing all our hard work off the drawing board and into action. As we head into year two of the CDC REACH grant, it seems like a good time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and where we’re heading next.
Much of our work up to this point has involved conducting a food environment survey (shout out to intern Shirbrina for all her hard work on this!), researching best practices from similar projects across the country, and developing our store and shopper incentives.
Currently, four stores form our community purchasing group, and we hope to add two more shortly. This group will purchase fresh, high quality produce from Feeding South Florida to sell in their stores to local Miami Gardens residents. This way, traditional convenience stores can offer an affordable, healthy alternative to the less nutritious products they typically sell.
As we move forward with the project, we hope to also address other types of healthy foods beyond produce. Alongside the produce procurement, we are also working to develop a brand and website, so that residents can more easily identify our healthy food retailers. This will be coupled with a marketing campaign and efforts to ensure all the stores are easily accessible by public transit. We are also working with Feeding Florida to bring Fresh Access Bucks to the stores, so that people paying for produce with SNAP can receive coupons to double the value of their SNAP dollars on healthy purchases.
Our goal is to bring all of these incentives together to roll out our healthy corner stores project in the first quarter of 2020. We’re excited to see what this year has in store (pun intended…) for us, and we hope you keep watching our progress as we work to combat food insecurity and food deserts in Miami Gardens.
– Sam Hopwood
Regional Director of South Florida
Florida Impact to End Hunger