Grocery Stores

Currently there are no full service grocery stores within North Richmond, and only one corner store exists. In fact, during the four months of this studio course, one of the two remaining corner stores closed, further decreasing food options within the community. According to preliminary survey findings, many North Richmond residents shop for groceries in nearby communities such as San Pablo and Pinole, which means North Richmond dollars are leaving the community. While there are a number of urban agriculture and community garden programs within North Richmond whose benefits extend beyond food production (Urban Tilth, Lots of Crops, Sunnyside Organics, CURME), these projects cannot meet the food needs of all North Richmond residents, and must be augmented with at least a small fresh food market.

Residents also expressed interests in seeing more farmer’s markets in their community, and recognize them as a place to strengthen neighborhood relationships. New funding streams such as California Fresh Works offer financing opportunities for low-income California communities, and with the proper technical assistant, potential North Richmond food retailers could be eligible for this funding. This CA FreshWorks Fact Sheet is an overview to the new California Fresh Works fund. In addition, Policy Link’s Grocery Store Development guide offers in-depth information about grocery store development.

Corner Store Conversions are another model that the California Endowment, in partnership with CBOs can explore to increase the amount of fresh food at Sunset Market, the one remaining corner store in North Richmond. Corner Store Conversions provide incentives for food retailers to devote shelf space to fresh foods by funding freezer space, often a barrier for small corner stores that want to stock fresh food options. Corner store conversions have a particularly high impact in low-income neighborhoods where healthy food options are often extremely limited. The Healthy Corner Store Network’s ‘Health Corner Stores Q+A‘ is a useful guide for communities seeking guidance about corner store conversions.

West Oakland-based food justice organization People’s Grocery operates a bulk delivery service called the Wholesale Hookup, which could be a temporary remedy to food access issues in North Richmond. Partnering with a local CBO, churches and other community anchors could serve as delivery sites at which families could collect a weekly supply of healthy food. Local CBOs could lead efforts by beginning outreach at Verde Elementary, or delivering fliers to parents and youth at Shields-Reid, for example. While this is not a sustainable long-term option, a healthy food delivery scheme could fill the gaps in the interim.

North Richmond residents have an advocate in the Richmond Food Policy Council as well. The next meeting will take place Monday, May 21, at 6:00 pm at the Richmond Community Foundation: 1014 Florida Ave., Suite 200 in Richmond.

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