Pilot program links store owners to healthy food options for customers

Saturday, January 29, 2022
Lisa Robinson, WBAL-TV 11

Getting fresh food to Baltimore neighborhoods has long been a challenge. Now, there is a new initiative helping corner stores go green.

SpringForward Farms, based out of Laurel, is working with Johns Hopkins researchers and the community on a new pilot program.

“They are developing an app called the BUD app to help link producers to corner store owners,” said Julie Buisson, the business operations manager for SpringForward Farm.

Shop owner Krystal Noble said she’s glad to be one of the corner stores participating.

“It’s very important. The food deserts in the city are everywhere,” Noble said.

The app will help increase purchasing power for corner store owners. Often, they can’t meet requirements from wholesalers.

“The app itself makes it very easy and the option to order in bulk with other corner store owners makes it easier, as well and much more affordable too,” Noble said.

“We’re not in the business of telling people what to eat but we just want to make sure there is access to everyone to be able to make those healthy food choices,” Buisson said.

Residents who live in the area, like Julie Reichert, said they are happy to have healthy options.

“It’s very handy when you’re looking for a tomato or avocado or something to that nature be great to have a bigger selection,” Reichert said. “If you do not have mobility in the form of a car or bus or you’re on foot then it’s a little bit far away.”

In March, the pilot will be extended to 19 corner stores in east Baltimore.

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