The Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition (KCP4H) is strengthening the local food system—and increasing access to healthy food—in northern Kentucky. The coalition integrates planning and public health to support healthy, vibrant communities for the more than 163,000 residents living just south of Cincinnati.
Building on the success of the Eat Healthy NKY campaign and food summit, the KCP4H coalition is increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables in underserved neighborhoods in the City of Covington as well as engaging key stakeholders from across the county.
The healthy corner store pilot program has been a successful Plan4Health outcome, with target stores in Covington redesigning the layout of stores, upgrading store equipment, and leveraging community engagement efforts to make the healthy choice easier for community members of all ages.
Gutierrez’s Deli participated in the pilot program, and, as store owner Claudio Gutierrez states, has noticed more customers purchasing fresh produce.
“Vegetables are the first thing you see when you enter the store,” says Gutierrez. The new display, healthy eating messages in English and Spanish as well as the recipe cards all help customers consider healthier options as they shop.
“It isn’t always easy to have perfectly ripe produce on hand. I have to pay attention to details and think about the customer who wants an avocado today and the customer who wants an avocado on Friday.”
“It’s been great to work with Claudio and Courtney,” says Rachel Hastings, Program Director, Community Development, with The Center for Great Neighborhoods. “Claudio is committed to building relationships with his customers and with local vendors to find the fresh produce he needs. It’s clear that Gutierrez’s Deli is a neighborhood institution and that Claudio is thinking in terms of supporting the community.”
The coalition is continuing to work with corner store owners and community members, making sure that changes supported through Plan4Health will be part of the store environment beyond the grant period.
Check out the upcoming Plan4Health nutrition peer call. Special guest Karen Shore, from The Food Trust, will discuss national trends in healthy corner store programming. Join the conversation and share your experiences: register here!
All images from Kenton County Plan4Health coalition and Plan4Health staff.