Tradition of Healthy Food Access in Low-income Neighborhoods: Price and Variety of Curbside Produce Vending Compared to Conventional Retailers
AbstractThis paper describes the longstanding, naturally emergent model of curbside vending of whole fruit and vegetable produce across several low-income, low-health Philadelphia neighborhoods. We conducted open-ended interviews with managers of 11 curbside produce vendors and compared prices and varieties of fruits and vegetables with the 11 closest conventional outlets. We find that produce trucks offer significantly lower prices on common fruit and vegetable items and they carry a variety of items comparable to that carried by limited-assortment grocery stores. We conclude with recommendations regarding zoning, licensing, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) authorization that could stabilize and expand this model of healthy food access.
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