NEW YORK — Access to fresh and healthy food in the Bronx is challenging due to fewer grocery stores. But a local nonprofit is working to turn that around by partnering up with bodegas and existing grocery stores.
“We’re making an okra and bean stew,” said Jairy Padro, an educator at BronxWorks.
From the nutritious ingredients to new ideas, BronxWorks is proving how easy cooking healthy can really be.
“I hear a lot of that eating healthy can be very expensive or that the prices have gone up,” said Padro. “This is a why we do things like this, showing people how to shop healthy on a budget.”
Through their Shop Healthy initiative, BronxWorks is teaming up with eight bodegas and grocery stores across the borough to promote healthy food access, which is often times difficult to find.
“In the Bronx, access to fresh foods, quality food is lacking. There is far more bodegas than there are supermarkets in the area,” said Bianca Cornelius, who also works at BronxWorks.
According to the New York City Food Policy Center, there was one supermarket for every 37 bodegas in Belmont and in East Tremont in 2022. There’s also one supermarket for every 25 bodegas in Melrose and in Mott Haven.
A report by Bronx Impact Food Access Collective says 17% of residents struggle to access at least one serving of fruits or vegetables daily.
“There’s not that many supermarkets and the supermarkets we do have the prices, most of the time, be too high,” said David, who works at Gitto’s Market.
That’s why Gitto’s Market in Baychester is working to have affordable prices and options on the shelves that are quick and easy.
The program is also placing signs around the store to direct customers to healthier food options by showing suggestions like “less sodium.”
BronxWorks says by working together with local vendors, it could help families finally get on the right track.
“It’s very critical to have a program like this where there’s nutrition education in the stores, so it’s helping people and empowering people with their purchasing,” Cornelius said.