This is a blog series that follows the UW Farm Spring lunch seminar on Food and Justice. While these posts are targeted to students in this class, everyone is invited to view the material and reply to posts. You can view the course webpage here.
Delridge is one of the few areas in Seattle with low access to traditional large-format grocery stores, but has a number of corner stores within walking distance. This project’s goal is to work with individual store owners to increase the amount of healthy, fresh food that is sold.
As Born walked us through the concept and overall project, he touched on a number of important challenges facing community-based organizing and food justice issues:
- Community-based organizations can be overburdened and underfunded. What are the limitations and possible solutions for this kind of system?
- How do you work to create a community-oriented system when individual corner store owners come from different backgrounds and view each other as competition?
- How do you keep the cost of produce low when individual store owners must buy in small quantities?
- How do you incentivize supporting programs like WIC, which have complicated regulations and minimum order amounts?
You can view the images from Born’s slideshow here:
Jeanine Carlson responded to the first class post with ideas for ways to address these complexities, and I’m reposting this here in the hopes that these thoughts are responded to. The approach was to incorporate CSA drop-offs into stores.
“I really think here could be something here… WIC is specific but there’s also food stamps and regular ole cash. The markets have a few options to begin exploring:
1) Markets could simply serve as a drop-off location for CSA delivery. Customers pre-order, pay the CSA online and pick up their box at the participating market.
2) Markets could take pre-orders, pay for a group order and accept food stamps or cash for desired items, rather than gamble with an order elsewhere and hope it sells.
3) A few times a year WIC offers coupons for shopping at farmers markets. Local stores could still order through the CSA for these events only and act as the go-between between the farmers and the customers.
I pick up my CSA box from the steps of a house in a neighborhood, CSA’s are always open to new sites hosting as a pick-up location.”
The challenges we face in our current system will be difficult to address, but it’s a worthy cause. What can we learn from the Delridge Healthy Corner Store Project, and how can these lessons be applied to other community-based endeavors?
Also, how did the NPR interview on food providers and farmers relate to this discussion?
Next week we will have Sue McGann from Solid Ground come and talk about their programs, especially Marra Farm. Please watch the Winona LaDuke and Majora Carter videos before class. You can find links to both on the course webpage.