It’s quite common to see a student walk to school with soda in one hand and a bag of Cheetos in the other. Corner stores tend to furnish a convenient, popular “breakfast-to-go” option for urban residents. They’re also the first places many kids go after school for snacks. But all too often, corner store offerings lack the fresh, healthy options we know are necessary for their growing bodies and minds.
That’s why I’m particularly excited that Brianna Almaguer Sandoval is the winner of the 2013 Growing Green Young Food Leader Award for her work making nutritious options available and affordable in urban corner stores. Her program, the Food Trust’sHealthy Corner Store initiative, has brought almost 700 corner stores in the greater Philadelphia region on board with a program that encourages healthy and fresh options. The Food Trust’s groundbreaking work has become a model for similar programs in urban areas all over the country.
Corner stores and fast food chains are “competition” for school meal programs like the one I work for. We aim to provide balanced, delicious meals at school, but it’s hard to compete with the cheap snacks available at convenience outlets that service our urban areas. It’s much cooler to be carrying an orange bag of Doritos than a bag of orange carrots. Over half of all urban youth observed in a recent Temple University study shopped at a corner store at least once each day. What did they buy? Typically high-calorie foods and drinks with little nutritional value, such as chips, candy, soda, and sports drinks.
That’s why we need programs like the one Brianna oversees - to level the playing field, so to speak. Kids need healthy options at school and in their everyday lives. In both realms, this means increasing the supply of healthy options, as well as the demand. On the supply side, The Food Trust, trains store owners on how to profitably sell healthy products and improve store operations, and provides equipment to help them expand their fresh produce inventories. The Food Trust helps build consumer demand through healthy food marketing and pricing strategies for corner store customers. They even have a youth leadership component of the Initiative called Snackin’ Fresh, where they engage hundreds of children and families in school and community-based education programs on nutrition and making healthy choices.
Congratulations to Brianna and The Food Trust on winning a 2013 Growing Green Award! Let us continue to work towards a future where children and families have access to affordable, safe, nutritious food - both at school and in our communities.
Before the age of 25, Andrea founded the D.C. Farm to School Network, an organization behind the movement for healthier school food in about 200 public and charter schools throughout Washington, DC. Andrea is not only transforming school lunch menus by charting alliances between...Before the age of 25, Andrea founded the D.C. Farm to School Network, an organization behind the movement for healthier school food in about 200 public and charter schools throughout Washington, DC. Andrea is not only transforming school lunch menus by charting alliances between D.C. schools and local food producers, but she is also influencing policy in the nation’s capital. In 2010, Andrea was the principal architect of the farm to school provisions in the landmark “Healthy Schools Act”, legislation that makes D.C. one of the first jurisdictions in the country to provide financial incentives to schools that serve fresh, locally grown products and infuse food and nutrition education into classrooms. Andrea is NRDC’s 2012 Growing Green Award winner in the Young Food Leader category.MoreClose
OnEarth is published by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The opinions expressed by its editors and writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more.