The Co-op at 1st, in Denver, is meeting consumer demand for fresh produce at wholesale prices and creating access to affordable produce with My Food Box.
The Co-op at 1st, a Denver-based cooperative grocer, is enabling families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase fresh produce at wholesale prices, thanks to a collaboration with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).
My Food Box, based on PHA’s COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, offers fresh produce from local farmers and growers, in addition to pre-made meals by local chefs, at wholesale prices. The program lets participants use their SNAP benefits and Double Bucks to pay for the subscription.
“In the wake of COVID, it is no longer acceptable to live in a two-tiered food system where those of means eat foods that promote good health, while people with less eat foods likely to cause diabetes, heart disease or even cancer,” said Nancy E. Roman, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based PHA. “By distributing good food at wholesale prices that can be purchased with SNAP and Double Bucks, we are changing the food landscape to one that leans toward health equity instead of one that creates health disparities.”
“Every week, The Co-op at 1st sells approximately 40 boxes of fresh, high-quality produce for as low as $20 dollars per box, and one out of every three customers uses SNAP or Double Up Food Bucks for this purchase,” noted Kristina Welch, founder and executive director of The Co-op at 1st. “Thanks to lessons learned from PHA’s COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, My Food Box is a sustainable program that’s empowering our community with good food and cultivating health equity at the same time.”
PHA introduced the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund in April 2020 to bring fresh produce to communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Sixty-one percent of participants in the fund said that the main obstacle to their eating more fruits and vegetables was cost, and 50% said that they were willing to pay the wholesale price of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund PHA Fresh Box, indicating significant unmet marketplace demand. The Co-op at 1st is meeting this consumer demand and creating access to affordable produce with My Food Box.
Founded in tandem with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign in 2010, national nonprofit PHA has worked with more than 300 corporations, convenience store chains, distributors, hospitals, early-childhood education centers and SNAP-Ed implementing agencies, among others, to help children grow up healthy.