City Council members got a progress report on a project to make healthy food more accessible to Wichitans.
Representatives from New Venture Advisors, LLC say the Healthy Corner Store Initiative project is about three-quarters of the way complete. Their work began in 2020 with community leaders to create a city and county food system master plan, with a goal of improving access to healthy food.
One of the key actions from the plan was to work with existing small grocery stores and convenience stores to incentivize and enable them to stock fresh, healthy food options.
Project partners say several factors are key to make the program successful. They stressed the importance of working with existing food distribution organizations, who have experience in transporting produce to the marketplace. Stores must also have support to display and market the produce and be able to accept government assistance programs, like SNAP and WIC.
The project’s steering committee has identified neighborhoods of low-income and low-access to transportation that would benefit greatly from the pilot project. The goal is for 6 stores to open by the end of this year and 12 more by the end of 2024, using ARPA funding to get off the ground.