Healthy Corner Store Collaborative grand opening event on Sept. 15, 2017. Photo courtesy Top Box Foods – New Orleans.
Top Box Foods – New Orleans is co-coordinating a pilot project to increase access to healthy, affordable groceries in food insecure neighborhoods in New Orleans.
The Healthy Corner Store Collaborative, a partnership between Top Box Foods, the City of New Orleans and local nonprofits Liberty’s Kitchen and Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, is a 12-month initiative providing store operators with funding and support to introduce nutritious food options.
The five stores selected for the program serve a low-income customer base, are located in food insecure neighborhoods and have owners enthusiastic about healthy options. HCSC provides resources to these businesses to manage the cost and risk of introducing a new product, including access to a supply chain, funding for new racks or coolers, store marketing and business mentoring.
Many stores expressed concerns about the profitably of selling produce and a lack of interest from customers. Dramatic results countered these fears, with 72 percent of produce delivered sold within the first week of each delivery, 93 percent sold overall and gross sales totaling almost $6,000.
“These statistics disprove the misconception that folks with less don’t want to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Top Box Foods – New Orleans Co-Founder and Changemaker Institute alumnus Sam Heyman. “Every week, we prove that when healthy items are affordable and accessible, people will purchase.”
Established in 2013, Top Box Foods – New Orleans partners with local churches and organizations to distribute low-cost boxes of nutritious foods to customers in food deserts. “The HCSC has allowed our core mission of increasing food access to those whom need it most to reach new heights,” said Heyman. Top Box Foods relies heavily on interns from Tulane University, if you are interested in working to create a more equitable food system in New Orleans, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.