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Healthy Cornerstore Initiative Produce Distribution System

Overview

Dissemination Category: The Healthy Cornerstore Initiative Produce Distribution System is an emerging intervention based on its use of evidence-based strategies. Developed in practice, it shows promise but evidence in support of effectiveness is not yet available.

Intent of the intervention:  The Healthy Cornerstore Initiative increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables in cornerstores by linking small stores with produce distributors on a year-round basis.  The program was developed by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  While addressing multiple levels of the socio-ecologic model, the program’s primary focus is to modify the food environment to increase access, availability, purchases, and use of healthy fruits and vegetables by WIC recipients. 

Intended population:  WIC-authorized small and cornerstore owners and WIC recipients

Setting(s):  WIC-authorized small and cornerstores

Background: In 2008, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service published an interim rule, which significantly revised the WIC “food package” across the United States.  In response, the Minnesota Department of Health WIC Program revised its administrative rules and established new minimum stock requirements for retail stores authorized for the WIC Program.  These new requirements included minimum stock requirements for fresh produce, including 5-7 varieties and 24-30 pounds of fresh produce per store, depending on store location. 

In anticipation of these new requirements and challenges they would create for small stores, IATP conducted an initial scan of healthy cornerstore initiatives across the United States and made in-person visits to small WIC- authorized stores to assess their current produce offerings and distribution channels.  In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health WIC Program, IATP also interviewed the owners of a sample of small WIC-authorized stores to better understand their business models and their hopes and concerns about the new requirements for fresh produce. 

Length of time in the field:  The system was implemented August 1st, 2009.