More fruits and vegetables are now conveniently available for residents in Dayton’s Bluff, due to Ramsey County’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) work. With no supermarket in the neighborhood, residents who don’t have a car or who need a few food items quickly now have more access to healthy food. Phoenix Market (at 3rd Street and Maria) and Swift Mart (on 7th Street at Hope) are now offering at least six fruit and six vegetable selections for sale.
Helping smaller stores in neighborhoods where fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce is part of a nationwide movement. Corner stores are getting “face-lifts,” store redesigns, and/or increased fruit and vegetable varieties. The two corner stores in Dayton’s Bluff are the first in low-access areas of St. Paul to partner with local health department staff on this project.
In celebration of the expanded access to healthier foods, each store held a taste-testing event with help from Simply Good Eating (University of Minnesota Extension Program) and youth from the Community Design Center. Samples of fresh fruits and vegetables were given to customers, along with Veggie Power T-shirts when customers purchased fresh produce.
The work with local corner stores was initiated in response to the results of a community survey on food issues conducted last summer which included Dayton’s Bluff. St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, The Community Design Center, Afro Eco, The Minnesota Project, and The Minnesota Food Association surveyed residents about food availability in their neighborhoods. Residents were asked about shopping, eating, and buying habits. Nineteen percent of Dayton’s Bluff residents who participated in the survey shopped outside of their neighborhood. Over half of the participants said they were interested in eating more healthful foods.
More information about local efforts to expand healthy food access and achieve healthier lifestyles is available at www.feelbetterminnesota.org.