(Left) The Food Trust assists with healthy conversions of general stores in low-income
areas, such as Washington and Hancock Counties, in rural Maine.
(Below) Stockbox Grocers in Seattle, Wash.
“Our focus is really about improving access to healthy
food inside urban neighborhoods, dairy, meat, milk,
veggies and prepared food,” Ferrence said. “We put a
premium on fresh.”
She said Stockbox also stocks items such as chips and
soda that are considered junk food.
“One of our commitments is to accept that people like
a range of food, and we’re not going to put a judgment
on it,” Ferrence said.
“Our goal is to build a network of smaller grocery stores
across the Seattle area, and we’re looking at opening two
new stores next year,” she said.
In eastern Maine, Healthy Acadia, a rural healthy food
program touted by The Food Trust, is working on healthy
conversions of general stores in two low-income counties,
Washington and Hancock. Washington is the easternmost county in the United States; the place where the
sun rises first.
Healthy Acadia is focusing on converting rural general
stores located more than 20 miles from larger food stores.
Access to fresh produce is limited, said Katie Freedman,
Healthy Acadia’s food programs director, so the program
set up a farmer’s market in a general store’s parking lot
over the summer.
Healthy Acadia also received grants from the late actor
Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own Foundation and another
foundation to pay for the equipment installed in general
stores to display and store produce.
“We’re seeing incremental changes,” Freedman said.
“We haven’t seen a major overhaul of these stores.
They’re not going to become health food stores, but
we’re seeing a substantial increase in healthy foods.
The store owners have been happy with the sales of fresh
produce, fruit cups and things like that.”
John Van Gieson is a freelance writer based in
Tallahassee, Fla. He owns and runs Van Gieson
Media Relations, Inc.
The store owners have been happy
with the sales of fresh produce.