Just Harvest is excited to launch Fresh Corners, a healthy corner store initiative to improve access to healthy food in underserved neighborhoods in Allegheny County.
Like Fresh Access – our successful program to enable farmers markets to accept food stamps – Fresh Corners is a forward-looking and creative response to the problem of “food deserts.”
According to a 2012 federal report, among cities of its size (with populations of 250,000‐500,000) Pitts‐ burgh has the largest percentage of people residing in communities with “low‐supermarket access” (LSA) – food deserts. Nearly half (145,245) of Pittsburgh residents experience this low access and 71% of them are low‐income.
Our 2013 food desert report, “A Menu for Food Justice,” concluded that in solving this problem, “one size doesn’t fit all.” Just because a neighborhood lacks a large supermarket doesn’t mean a large supermarket is the solution for all food deserts. Diverse struggling neighborhoods have different sorts of barriers to access to nutritious and affordable food and different sorts of resources to address them.
We are proud to partner with the Allegheny County Health Department to use nationally proven models for healthy corner store development as part of the food access solution for low-income neighborhoods and the people who live in them.
In the coming months we will be doing more in-depth data analysis on food access across the county to prioritize and target specific communities, developing information materials for both consumers and store owners, and networking with coalition partners (County Health Department, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Bridgeway Capital, Tobacco Free Allegheny, and The Food Trust) to strengthen connections between related initiatives in our region.