DC Central Kitchen has unveiled a free manual, “Turning the Corner: The Inside Guide to Fighting Food Deserts through Corner Store Collaborations” – a comprehensive guide to replicating the model of their successful Healthy Corners program in urban food deserts around the country. The manual’s release comes on the heels of Healthy Corners’ recent expansion from 30 to 67 stores in Washington, DC, and takes a national best practice approach to bringing healthy food to lower-income communities.
DCCK launched Healthy Corners in September 2011 in response to the growing epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases plaguing DC’s low-income neighborhoods. The program aims to make healthy food accessible in neighborhoods without access to full-service grocery stores – “food deserts” – by empowering corner stores to stock and sell affordable, healthy options. Before the advent of Healthy Corners, few of these small stores offered fresh food options – the result of both limited resources and a lack of infrastructure to keep produce fresh.
The manual outlines the program model and initial results of Healthy Corners, and includes suggestions on the infrastructure, partnerships, training, and staffing necessary to make the program replicable in other communities. DC Central Kitchen also offers a step-by-step approach to both procuring produce for distribution and to starting conversations that engage individual store owners in the program. The manual is meant to be used by other groups across the country to spark not just replication, but adaptation and innovation.