DC Central Kitchen (DCCK), located in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit and social enterprise that is working to end hunger through community-based programs and job training and creation. The organization recently received a four-year grant to make nutritious foods more accessible through their Healthy Corners program.

Launched in 2011, the Healthy Corners program is designed to increase accessibility to healthier food options in areas without grocery stores, particularly neighborhoods affected by food apartheid. The $US890,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) will help DCCK scale the program at a time when eaters are grappling with elevated food prices.

“Healthy Corners is the ultimate myth busting food access program. There is proof that small businesses want to be part of a healthier, more sustainable community and that low-income consumers are interested and want to put healthy food on the table for themselves and their families,” Alexander Moore, Chief Development Officer at DCCK tells Food Tank.

To promote affordable alternatives, the program offers store owners produce at wholesale prices and delivers fresh and frozen vegetables in smaller quantities than traditional distributors typically offer. The Healthy Corners program works with 54 participating corner stores, providing distribution and technical assistance.

DCCK aims to utilize the funding to purchase and transport more products from local farmers while involving more community members through outreach and nutrition education initiatives.

At 33 of the participating stores, produce incentives are offered through the SNAP Match initiative, launched by Healthy Corners in 2018. Customers who purchase one piece of produce included in their initial SNAP-eligible transaction, receive $US5.00 coupons for fresh and frozen produce. DCCK reports that the incentive program has been a success since the beginning, spurring a 162 percent increase in sales.

DCCK will distribute the funds from the grant directly to SNAP customers through the SNAP Match initiative, supporting the organization in its mission to reach and serve 20,000 food insecure households annually.

Read the full article about urban food access by Alessandra Uriarte at Food Tank.