Bringing Healthy Food to Your Community
The Center for Closing the Health Gap empowers communities towards better nutrition by partnering with church, community, and school sites to establish the Do Right! Produce Market. Churches, community centers and schools were ideal market sites because of their community presence and ability to reach a wide range of people.
Most people aren’t eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber and many vital nutrients like potassium, magnesium and vitamin K, which are under consumed in the United States. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with the reduced risk of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.  Simply put, eating more produce is good for us, but the task is often easier said than done.
For some it’s a matter of breaking bad habits or getting better educated on food options, but for many it boils down to access. Studies indicate a positive relationship between access to healthy food and eating behaviors. Without close access to healthy ingredients, families have a harder time eating fruits and vegetables and lowering fat intake. The Center for Closing the Health Gap developed the Do Right! Produce Market program to address these issues by making affordable, fresh produce available at convenient access points right in these communities.
How it Worked
School Do Right! Produce Market
School produce market sites were able to reach parents and children alike, providing an opportunity to help create healthier eating habits at home. For parents living in food deserts and struggling with transportation barriers, school produce market sites offered a convenient way to add more fresh produce to the menu without breaking the bank. Many students aren’t eating healthy. Access to school produce markets offered a way to help educate them on healthier eating and hopefully improve their diets as well as their academic performance.
School-based Do Right! Produce Markets were held every other week on Fridays and Tuesdays. The Center developed a partnership with the Food Service Department of Cincinnati Public Schools to facilitate produce delivery to coincide with their weekly food delivery. On Market Day, volunteers distributed the produce into reusable bags. The amount and type of produce was dependent upon availability and recommendations by community members. A typical bag could include a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as:
- sweet potatoes
- white potatoes
- onions aplles oranges.
Each bag was then sold for $5 per bag to the community members, staff, teachers, and parents. The bags were sold immediately after school on their respective market days.
Church and Community Do Right! Produce Market
Church and Community Do Right! Produce Markets were typically held once a month and operated similar to a farmers market where patrons purchased individual items available. The produce, supplied by food distributor Ellenbee Leggett, was delivered to the church and community sites. In order to reach congregants and the local community, church markets operated on Sunday before and after church services. The community markets were held once a month and the days varied depending upon the need of that particular community.
Do Right! Produce Market sites included:
- Community Sites
- Gabriel’s Place – a community center operated under the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio
- Mt. Auburn
- Church Sites
- Roselawn Lutheran Church
- St. Mark AME Zion Church
- Word of Deliverance Church
- School Sites
- South Avondale Elementary
- Rockdale Academy
- Taft Elementary School
The Center provided produce market sites with:
- Baskets for produce displays
- Price Flyers
- Reusable Bags
- Sign-in Sheets to track market usage
- Each School received a cooler with locks to store produce
The market was promoted primarily through:
- Yard Signs
- Robo Calls
- Door hangers and literature distribution
- The program was also marketed at school staff meetings and looped on school monitors.
- Church markets were also promoted internally through church announcements and bulletins.
- Mass emails were sent out to Center contacts.
Site volunteers set up produce displays and ran the market. School markets received help from school staff, such as teachers, administrators and food service employees.
Do Right! Produce Market – Schools
- Rockdale Academy: averaged 20 bags bi-weekly per market for a family size of 4-6
- South Avondale School: averaged 25 bags per market for a family size of 4-6
- Taft Elementary School: averaged 30 bags per market for a family size of 4-6
Do Right! Produce Market – Churches
- Sites averaged $150 in Revenue
 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.
 Treuhaft, S., Karpyn, A. The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters. Policy Link. The Food Trust. Retrieved March 19, 2012. http://www.policylink.org/atf/cf/%7B97C6D565-BB43-406D-A6D5-ECA3BBF35AF0%7D/FINALGroceryGap.pdf