GOOD Ideas for Cities: Promoting Fresh Food Access

Adults living in neighborhoods with no supermarkets have significantly higher obesity rates. How to increase their availability to healthy foods?


Studies have shown that the number of grocery stores in a neighborhood has a direct correlation to the rate of obesity in its residents. Without a nearby institution providing fresh produce, shoppers tend to make unhealthy eating choices. How can neighborhoods without a supermarket increase their access to healthy foods?

As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities Cincinnati, Design Cincy proposed ideas to bring more fresh foods—and a greater education about healthy eating—to urban shoppers. One solution the team saw in action is the idea of redesigning corner stores so they feature fresh produce instead of processed foods. But in the team's research, they realized many shoppers had a sense of pride for "their store," and realized that food shopping is also about creating community.

Another idea would create small, community-focused markets (perhaps in retail spaces left vacant by former supermarkets) that would offer cooking classes and other ways to share recipes using fresh, local foods. Within the shopping experience, the team also recommended graphic tools, like a color coded shelving system that would rank foods based on their health benefits, which would act like mandatory calorie counts in fast food restaurants and get shoppers to think about their purchases.

Challenge: Adults living in neighborhoods with no supermarkets have significantly higher obesity rates compared to adults living in neighborhoods with supermarkets. Currently the city of Cincinnati should have 34 supermarkets—we only have 24. How can we increase both availability of healthy foods and education about healthy eating in underserved neighborhoods?

Closing the Health Gap, Renee Harris; Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Ray Watson; Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Chris Bochenek,

Design Cincy: Ramsey Ford, Jody Weber, PJ Mason, Demetrius Romanos, Giacomo Ciminello

Shop Local: Connect with the Twitter hashtag #shoptions or email ramsey[at]d-impact[dot]org

Video by The Queen City Project

Additional support provided by the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation

GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit Watch more videos of recent GOOD Ideas for Cities events, and if you'd like to talk about bringing the program to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com or follow us at @IdeasforCities

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