Food Access: Healthy Corner Store Initiatives Webinar

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Author: Bronwyn Clement

Posted: February 17, 2015

Categories: economic development / Food Access / GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario / Research / Webinars

This webinar is the third in a series of conversations around food access and policy within our network and we invite you to take part. To learn more about the Food Access Peer Learning Circle (PLC) and how to be involved please contact Bronwyn Clement, 

Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, March 4th from 2:00-3:30pm to hear from public health practitioners and policy analysts, in a discussion of various pilot projects and public policy initiatives working to increase access to healthy foods through one of the most ubiquitous grocery environments: corner stores. Go directly to the registration page.

health on the shelf 2

Health on the Shelf: A Guide to Healthy Small Food Retailer Certification Programs

While many healthy retail projects and resources have sprouted in the US, this food access strategy is also gaining traction in Ontario and across Canada. The Ontario Food & Nutrition Strategy has called for “increased access to public information about healthy eating through retailers and food service.” Similarly, the Healthy Kids Strategy has articulated a series of recommendations for changing the food environment from providing incentives for food retailers to develop stores in food deserts and encouraging food retailers to adopt transparent and easy-to-understand nutrition rating systems for the products in their stores.

While part of this conversation is about access to better labeling and nutrition education in retail outlets, the larger issue of access – the where and how people are accessing fresh and healthy foods – is at the crux of the food access conversation. This webinar will explore both projects and policies that support corner stores in stocking more healthy products – especially fresh fruits and vegetables – through layout redesign and infrastructure adjustments.  Healthy corner store initiatives are part of a larger discussion of how municipalities (or the province?) can use various policy tools, from land use planning and zoning to economic (re)development to promote a healthier food retail environment.

Who’s coming?

We are pleased to have both the Toronto Food Strategy and ChangeLab Solutions giving presentations as part of this webinar.

Julie Sommerfreund is a Health Promotion Specialist on Toronto Public Health’s Food Strategy team. Julie’s current focus within the team is improving access to healthy fresh food to residents in low income areas using innovative approaches such as healthy corner stores and mobile markets. She has a history of working on important city policy issues including environmental health, climate change, and a healthy food system. She brings extensive experience in partnership building, engagement, and collaboration through her work. The Toronto Food Strategy is a project of Toronto Public Health and “works with a broad range of partners to enable a healthier and more sustainable food system for all.” Julie will share with us the food retail mapping work the Toronto Food Strategy has done, the lessons learned and challenges overcome in transforming a convenience store in East Scarborough in order to better serve the community, as well as initial work to promote aggregated food procurement. To learn a bit more about the project you can read Toronto Food Policy Council’s blog post or check out Toronto Food Strategy’s website.

Phebe Gibson is a Policy Analyst at California-based ChangeLab Solutions, focusing on the organization’s food access and healthy food retail work. ChangeLab Solutions’ interdisciplinary team of lawyers, urban planners, policy analysts, and public health specialists partner with state and local leaders to create healthy communities, using the tools of law and policy. They specialize in researching and drafting model laws and policies, providing analysis and recommendations on environmental change strategies, developing educational toolkits and factsheets, and providing trainings and other assistance. ChangeLab Solutions works on efforts ranging from land use and transportation planning to food systems and childhood obesity prevention. Phebe will share with us ChangeLab’s work on supporting municipalities to think through healthy corner store initiatives from pilot projects to certification programs and town-wide policies. She will also present on the range of strategies and food retail environments in rural and urban areas.

Register now!

Can you tell me more about the Food Access Peer Learning Circle?

Sustain Ontario is hosting a series of educational webinars and discussions to investigate, discuss, and share resources on a variety of food access topics. The peer learning circle (PLC) aims to be an avenue to strengthen existing collaborative networks, share knowledge and tools, support initiatives across the food community, and come to a place of agreement on ideas for the network and government to move forward on.

The Food Access Peer Learning Circle is one of four targeted learning circles to come out of Healthy Food for All: Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems in Ontario, a project intended to increase the capacity of local communities working towards a sustainable food system in Ontario.

Have a question or comment about Healthy Corner Store Initiatives or the peer learning circle but can’t make it to the webinar? Post it in the comment section below and we’ll ask it for you during the webinar! Register for the webinar.

Additional Resources

Measuring the Food Environment in Canada.” Health Canada.

Working with Grocers to Support Healthy Eating.” Health Canada.

Health on the Shelf: A Guide to Healthy Small Food Retailer Certification Programs.” ChangeLab Solutions.

Providing Fresh Produce in Small Food Stores: Distribution Challenges & Solutions for Healthy Food Retail.” ChangeLab Solutions.

Licensing for Lettuce: Model Ordinance and Guide for Licensing Healthy Food Retailers.” ChangeLab Solutions.