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Two corner stores getting coolers for fresh produce

Two corner stores will begin carrying healthier food options in parts of Buffalo where there is scarce access to fresh produce.

Food Plus Market, 414 East Amherst St., and Buff City Exclusive Market, 90 Lisbon Ave., will have coolers stationed at the front of their stores stocked with healthy and affordable fruit and vegetables from local growers and distributors.

Representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eat Smart New York will visit the stores throughout the year to offer taste tests and healthy food preparation tips.

It’s the result of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, a project put together by a community coalition organized by the John R. Oishei Foundation’s Mobile Safety-Net Team. Community groups will cut the ribbon on the coolers Jan. 29.

The Healthy Corner Store Initiative targeted stores in food deserts, where at least a third of the population lives more than one mile from a supermarket.

“These people typically do not have transportation and rely on the corner stores for much of their grocery shopping, especially during the winter months,” said Rita Hubbard-Robinson, project director from Millennium Collaborative Care, one of the groups in the coalition behind the project.

Those residents also happen to have some of the highest rates of chronic disease.