Healthy Corner Market Project

Vicky’s Produce at 321 Rodriguez St. in Watsonville is the first market to participate in The Healthy Corner Market Project that launched this past summer. Jovenes SANOS youth members are working with local market owners in Watsonville with the goal of providing healthier options in a way that is affordable to the market owner and affordable to customers.  Roxanne Harrison, project coordinator, “ The HCMP business model is unique as we are using short term incentives funded through local grantors to build a bridge from the existing business model to a new healthier model.  We require the market owner to participate in the project for 6 months, and when our team steps away the owner has the tools and expertise to maintain the healthy changes. 

At Vicky’s Produce, a young artist worked with local muralist Arturo Thomae to create a new storefront for the storeowner. Jovenes SANOS cleaned the entire façade, and worked on painting the new mural. Under the guidance of our market consultant, Dina Izzo, owner of BluDog Organics, the youth have helped start the redesign of the interior of the store to emphasis fresh fruits and vegetables and freshly made salads. 

A need for this type of program has been established with studies showing that in low-income neighborhoods, small markets play a significant role in what families are eating. Studies by the Food Trust and Policy Link found a 30% higher number of corner stores in low- income neighborhoods compared to middle income neighborhoods.  Simply stated, the study shows that people who live closer to stores that sell healthy food have better diets. 

Hector’s Meat Market at 20 Mariposa Avenue in Watsonville has just agreed to enroll as the second participating market.  If you are interested in learning more about this project please contact Roxanne Harrison, project coordinator at 831-227-3378 or rharrison@unitedwaysc.org