CONTACT: Ruben G. Lizalde, 210.207.7006
SAN ANTONIO (April 5, 2019) – Today, Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran launched theVIVA SA Healthy Corner Store Initiative Pilot Program, a new approach to improve the availability, quality, and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhood corner stores.
“In response to an outcry from residents regarding lack of grocery stores, I wanted to implement a program that would be truly transformative for both the City of San Antonio and District 3.” said Viagran. “By creating pocket grocery stores with reliable access to affordable produce we will enable residents to have access to healthier options.”
Fifty percent of the census tracks in District 3 are considered food insecure according to theUnited States Department of Agriculture. Many communities lack access to nearby supermarkets in which families depend on neighborhood corner stores to purchase food.
“Many organizations have identified income, access, and knowledge as a few of the many social Determinants of Health that affect health,” said Dr. Emma Santa Maria and Dr. Anilkumar Mangla of the University Of Incarnate School Of Osteopathic Medicine. “With the Councilwoman’s vision and our partnerships with The San Antonio Food Policy Council and San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) this pilot will enable us to implement a solution for these barriers.”
According to a report prepared for Congress by the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, about 2.3 million people (or 2.2 percent of all US households) live more than one mile away from a supermarket and do not own a car. In San Antonio, the majority of food deserts are in outlying areas on the West, South and East sides of the city.
“To combat chronic disease in San Antonio, we need to create changes in neighborhoods that lead to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially in food deserts” said Jennifer Herriott, Interim Director of Metro Health. “Being an established part of the neighborhood setting, convenience stores can be a valuable resource in combating chronic diseases in the underserved communities of San Antonio, by offering fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Metro Health is pleased to support City Council District 3 and the University of the Incarnate Word in launching their VIVA SA Healthy Corner Store Initiative Pilot Program.
For more information on VIVA SA Healthy Corner Store Initiative and to learn about opportunities to participate,visit https://www.foodpolicysa.org/initiatives/healthy-corner-stores/.