Saturday, April 17, 2010

Residents guard food access

Food Guardians, a new San Francisco Department of Public Health program that emerged from SEFA (Southeast Food Access) is in action. In the past couple of months, the group of BVHP resident health workers (or “promotoras”) has been visiting BVHP community sites to survey parents about their families' grocery shopping experiences and eating habits.

The survey is part of a larger effort to gauge how the Fresh and Easy store anticipated for 3rd Street will affect community members, our neighborhood’s nutritional status, and existing BVHP food retailers.

Coordinated by Sabrina Wu, the Food Guardians have spoken with parents at Southeast Health Center, Bret Harte Elementary School, Burnett Children's Center, Malcolm X Academy, Hunters Point Head Start, Whitney Young Child Development Center, Grace Child Development Center, and MLK Pool. Food Guardians have also assessed healthy food availability and prices at six food retailers in BVHP, and visited Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in the Mission to get ideas about what they want for BVHP.

A first draft of standards for assessing BVHP food retailers was presented to SEFA in March. It focuses on healthy food and fresh produce availability, variety and quality, cleanliness and safety of stores, environmental impact, low-income consumer access, presence of in-store tobacco and alcohol advertising, consumer education, fair labor, and community investment.

Sabrina and all the Food Guardians are very interested in ideas from community members about neighborhood grocery stores. Contact them by email or at 415-581-2444.

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