Friday, February 6, 2009

Healthier foods coming to Bayview

It's no surprise to Serena Ortega, who works for the business that includes Upper Crust Deli on Third Street in Bayview, that she doesn't have much competition when it comes to new products she is introducing. She's done her research.

"There was a line out the door at 6am this morning," she said, "and it's just the first day for us to offer breakfast."

The deal of the day was the breakfast burritto, a relatively healthy food alternative compared to other offerings on the commercial corridor, and very competitively priced (starting at just $3).

Next on Serena's list is a line of salads which is a nearly subversive act in a neighborhood known as a food desert by those who measure the distance between front door and produce retailer.

Many community-based groups such as Hunters Point Family, Literacy for Environmental Justice, and the Quesada Gardens Initiative have been long been concerned about the lack of healthy food options in the neighborhood, and have taken steps that include community food gardens.

These groups also belong to a collaboration called the Southeast Food Access Working Group (SEFA) where they sit alongside representatives from the SF Department of Public Health, Southeast Health Clinic, and the SF Wholesale Food Market to advocate for more and better food options.

A survey of Bayview residents' food preferences, accomplished through SEFA, and released in late 2007, is a high water mark in the overall effort to attract new and better food options to the neighborhood.

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