An initiative to improve the quality of food on local stores’ shelves and to spur SNAP- consumers to make more health-conscious choices when they go grocery shopping launched recently in Suffolk County.
The Healthy Corner Stores Project – targeting communities that typically lack access to fresh, healthy and affordable food options – kicked off in Mastic Beach in the Summer of 2014.
The pilot project involves not only providing shoppers with smarter choices but also increasing those selections’ popularity by re-configuring products and the display space in the Suffolk County Food Policy Council’s partner store, Neighborhood Country Market. The project is an effort of the Suffolk County Food Policy Council’s Food Equity Subcommittee
The kick-off event, held Friday, August 15, at the Whittier Drive store, featured Eat Smart New York Educators providing free tasting of low fat yogurt parfaits to encourage dairy consumption, tips for healthy eating and recipes, Attendees of the free event also received $1-off coupons for low-fat and fat-free milk. Surveys to better understand what shoppers look for in a corner store,and free lunches for children as part of Island Harvest’s Free Summer Meals Program..
The four partner groups – which is composed of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Island Harvest, the county’s Office of Minority Health and Sustainable Long Island – promotes the production and distribution of locally grown food and works to expand residents’ access to nutritious foods at retailers countywide. The group is working with the store owner – Abdul Rattu – to make additional changes moving forward. Mr. Rattu hadn’t sold much fresh produce until the project began. At the kickoff, he debuted a new shelf with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable options.
Last updated April 21, 2020