Purpose: WSU Faculty located in a WSU County Extension office in Bremerton is conducting an applied research project to understand barriers and successes to increasing the amount of fresh and healthy food available in independently owned corner stores. Bremerton is located in a documented USDA food desert with a 7.8% poverty rate where there are 1.4 times as many unhealthy food options as there are healthy ones. The project team is conducting a pilot project with one store to make changes that increase the amount of fresh food.
Proposed Deliverables: Understand and identify how best to source fresh food through the wholesale supply chain and/or directly from farms, as well as financial modeling for how a store can afford to increase its purchase of fresh food without increasing the cost to the customers who are living at or close to poverty.
Benefits to students: Opportunity to learn about food deserts, supply chains and financial modeling when thinking through providing healthier foods options in lower SES communities.
Benefits to the community: Local benefits will include better understanding financial costs of these types of initiatives and strengthening support of this type of model for healthy food initiative implementation more broadly throughout the community.
Outcomes: 1) Peer reviewed journal article/presentation with intern on this project as co-author. 2) At least one corner store in Bremerton is implementing changes that increases the public’s access to fresh, healthy food. We are working with him to also be able to accept WIC benefits. Students are contributing directly to the approaches being implemented with their literature reviews and financial modeling. The initial store is serving as a pilot for other stores that we are waiting to reach out to, possibility three other stores will be taking part in this initiative.
Extension County Director: Laura Ryser, Director, Kitsap County Extension Office
Assistant Professor, Food Systems & Community Development
Washington State University
Course Faculty: Dr. Lee Daffin, Psychology; Dr. Judy Schulz, Kinesiology; Dr. Sara Whitley, Sociology