High school students help corner store provide more fresh, healthy produce

Students from Roosevelt High School’s Health Careers program will help celebrate the launch of the school’s local corner store’s participation in the City of Minneapolis’ Healthy Corner Store Program. The celebration on December 10 marks months of planning facilitated by Health Career students in an effort to provide customers with more healthy, fresh foods as part of the City's larger effort to combat obesity and chronic disease. The celebration features the store redesign and Roosevelt’s mascot, Teddie, who will be handing out free apples to customers along with Health Career students.

Healthy Corner Store Program Celebration
Flag Foods, 2820 East 42nd St.
Dec. 10, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Located close to Roosevelt and frequented by students, Flag Foods is one of 10 corner stores selected by the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support (MDHFS) to participate in an initiative to increase the availability of fresh produce and healthy foods to residents. With the assistance of MDHFS staff, Health Career students have spent the last few months working with Flag Foods store owner Nadeem Khalid to get the store ready for its healthy makeover.

The Healthy Corner Store Program arose from an assessment MDHFS staff made of 35 stores to determine availability and quality of fresh produce. Results showed that 36 percent of stores did not have any fresh produce in stock. In the other 64 percent of stores, produce was limited, expensive and often difficult to find in the store. A separate survey of residents in north Minneapolis, conducted by Northpoint Health and Wellness, indicated that while convenience stores are easier to access than grocery stores, residents don’t buy produce there. The Healthy Corner Store Program is trying to change all that.

The 10 stores that are part of the Healthy Corner Store pilot project were selected through an application process. Working closely with the store owners and managers, MDHFS staff identified barriers they had in stocking and selling fresh produce. Among the top issues MDHFS helped to resolve was finding a wholesaler who could provide and deliver produce at a more affordable price, along with support in handling, storing and displaying healthy foods.

To determine effectiveness of the effort, MDHFS will track the stores’ sales data of fresh produce for the duration of the project (June 30, 2011). The data will indicate if the program sustains or boosts store sales. If the project proves successful, City officials hope to expand it city wide. The project also helps stores comply with the City's Staple Foods Ordinance, which requires grocery stores to carry at least five types of perishable produce.

Published Dec. 9, 2010