Praise for Produce in Poor Neighborhoods

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green Cart vendor Nishith Lasker (Alec Hamilton/WNYC)

Green carts are taking hold in New York City's food deserts, according to a new study by Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. The study, released Wednesday, said the city's 6-year-old program to bring fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods is working well for the most part.

The study said the city's 166 green carts are located in neighborhoods with few places to buy quality fruits and vegetables, and where people have high rates of diet-related diseases. More than half of their customers are regulars who report eating more produce since shopping at the carts.

"It really is penetrating this population," said Ester Fuchs, a professor of international and public affairs and political science at Columbia SIPA who led the green cart study. "People are using it who have high needs and they are purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from these vendors."

The study also said vendors are benefiting from the green cart program through decent profits. And, three-quarters of the city's green cart vendors reported they believe the job will help them eventually open a larger business.

But it could be better: the study found that the city needs a better tracking system for green carts to prevent vendors from clustering in some areas, leaving others without a piece of fruit in sight. The study also called for more green carts near public housing.

Surveyors in the study reported that 68 percent of the produce at green carts was good quality. But in a recent report on WNYC, people in the Bronx, where many green carts are located, indicated there's no guarantee that they are eating or cooking that produce after they buy it.

The study was supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the same foundation that partnered with the city to create the green carts program.


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Comments [4]

Rosanne from Manhattan

Unfortunately in our upper east side high income thete are
3 fruit vendors in one block area
one on se corner third avenue and 91 st
One vendor on nw corner 3rd and 90 th street AND the 3rd
Vendor on the se corner- same intersection
On 3 rd ave and 90 th street se corner.

The vendors are there 24/7 despite the fact that are legally supposed to
Vacate at sundown. they sleep on the street and
They put refuse on the tree beds

please advise Columbia University research time
To ask these vendors to relocate in neighborhoods
That they are targeted for
They are near 3 supermarkets and two locally
Owned fruit mom and pop stores who pay high rents
The vendors undercut the store prices and block
The busy avenues.

Jun. 13 2014 01:59 PM
nystan from NYC-UWS

Everything old is new again? Yeah...malnutrition, uninformed poor people, lack of access to healthy food / health care....poverty....So happy to see this study and the results. I hope this trend will continue and more and more vendors will show up in POOR neighborhoods (sorry MDD, Peter Cooper Village was probably not part of the study of poor hoods.) It is heartbreaking to see how our poorest neighbors are also the most overfed on junk food, overweight and uninformed. This is a small step in the right direction. Same goes for the green markets opening up in poorer neighborhoods. I say, Yay!

Jun. 12 2014 12:50 PM

Everything old is new again.

Jun. 12 2014 08:18 AM
mdd from manhattan

We need a green cart on the east side of First Avenue between 20th and 23rd streets, outside of Peter Cooper Village.

Jun. 12 2014 08:15 AM

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