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Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., in conjunction with the NYC Food and Fitness Partnership and The Partnership for a Healthier NYC, has introduced the Healthy Supermarkets Initiative at the Super Foodtown in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The goal of the initiative is to increase the availability of healthy food options while decreasing the amount of unhealthy choices in the underserved Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood.
On Friday, Sept. 6, the 29,000-square-foot location hosted healthy food demonstrations presented by Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation, Gardein, Taft Food Masters and Super Foodtown itself. City Harvest also conducted store tours including tips for healthy shopping on a budget and pointing out the recent changes under the initiative, which will be continued periodically throughout the year.
These changes include replacing sugary candy bars and sodas for natural products such as nuts, water and dried fruit, the implementation of “Easy to Eat Well” shelf talkers that spotlight nutritious food and beverage choices, sales on water and 100 percent juice, locally grown options in the produce section, and a “Be Healthy” section featuring sales on healthy items. Additionally, stanchion signs throughout the store feature local community residents chosen as Health Champions because of their efforts to live healthy lifestyles and influence others.
The day-long open house, which also encouraged healthy physical activity, ended with an outdoor screening of “Soul Food Junkies” by award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt, which explores the history of African-American food traditions in addition to the current socioeconomic conditions in predominantly African-American communities where finding healthy options can be difficult.
Opened in 2004, the Bed-Stuy Super Foodtown is the flagship location owned by Foodtown PSK, a member of the Iselin, N.J.-based Foodtown retail cooperative. PSK owns 12 locations throughout New York state and four in Brooklyn.
“A healthier community ultimately results in an economically more viable community, including economic growth and more jobs,” said Foodtown PSK co-president Noah Katz of the initiative.
“A lack of jobs and easy access to healthy, affordable foods are public health issues affecting Bed-Stuy and surrounding central Brooklyn areas,” added Tracey Capers, EVP of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp. “It is our vision that the Healthy Supermarkets Initiative will be a model program for other supermarkets in central Brooklyn, New York City and nationwide.”