Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/68592

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Page 107 of 207

4. Inner City Co-ops In West Oakland, Calif., a community abandoned long ago by gro- cery retailers, the Mandela Foods Cooperative opened in 2009 to tap into local buying power. In inner-city St. Louis, last year saw the opening of Old North Grocery Co-op, the only venue for fresh food serving an area with a population of more than 10,000 people. Sean Thomas, director of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, championed the project because he saw "a glaring need crying out for a solution. It's a public health initiative as well as an economic one," he explains. Of the store's first year in business, Thomas says, "All things considered, it's gone well." Thomas cites studies produced by the National Association of Realtors that showed the one amenity people look for in a neighbor- hood—above all others and cutting across every demographic—is easy access to a grocery store. He sees the co-op as a stabilizing force in the neighborhood. "Now we're hearing from people who have made the choice to be here because of the store," he says. 5. Farmers Markets Take Action Some people perceive locavorism and farmers markets as a luxury, since prices can be higher for some products than they are in super- markets. Programs to make them affordable, however, are flourish- ing across the country. In Milwaukee, the Fondy Food Center is a farmers market that works to connect the inner city with the farm- to-table movement through events such as cooking demonstrations. In Oakland, Calif., the farmers market associated with the East Oakland Faith Deliverance Center has a payment system that allows residents to redeem food stamps for fresh produce. In New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences has used grant funding to produce a farmers market designed specifically to cater to the needs of poor citizens. To further encourage healthy eating, the market offers nutrition counseling and cooking demonstrations in Spanish and English. Even oil-rich Houston has food deserts. To address the problem, Houston's Department of Health and Human Services recently launched a program to set up farmers markets in inner-city neighborhoods where fresh food is otherwise unavailable. Bringing healthy food to the entire nation is a continuously evolving movement, with new innovations surely still ahead. Says Stockbox Grocers' Ferrence of the growing effort: "It's an idea whose time has come." |SFM| Julie Besonen is food editor for Paper magazine and restaurant columnist for nycgo.com. DO YOU LIVE NEAR A FOOD DESERT? Search the USDA resource at ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert/. Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 529 JULY/AUGUST 2012 85

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