Bringing healthy food to the Bronx

On the Money
June 25, 2008 5:05:30 PM PDT
It's a staggering number. The New York City Department of Health says that the number of unhealthy food outlets outnumber healthy ones by a margin of five to one in the Melrose neighborhood of the south Bronx. Now there's a new program that's bringing healthy and discounted alternatives to the area.

Barbara Cruz says it's tough finding healthy food for her family at an affordable price in Melrose.

"Around these poor neighborhoods you see a lot of fast food restaurants. You don't really see quality food like vegetables and fruits. It's important to have it come into our neighborhood," said Cruz.

For about five years now, City Harvest has offered the mobile market on east 156th street.

It's a free farmers-style market for low-income residents.

"We try to do it in a way so that they feel they're at an open air market and that gives them a feeling of pride," says Sarah Caliman.

About two months ago, City Harvest figured why not offer even more and that's where fresh direct stepped in.

They launched a new buying club. The club gives neighbors in certain south Bronx zip codes a 20 percent discount on groceries.

People place their orders at least three days before the mobile market. They go to the market where everything is organized taken off the truck and handed over to those families.

For example, a three pound USDA choice cut of beef stew meat which normally sells for $22.45 in stores goes for $18.41, that's a $4 saving.

Fresh direct marketing director Steve Druckman tells Eyewitness News' Carolina Leid seeing the families get much needed groceries is exciting. "I do believe we're changing lives. I think regardless of gas prices and food prices this is something we want to be a part of."

Now he says it's a matter of spreading the word.

Membership in the 'City Harvest/Fresh Direct Buying Club' is open to residents of zip codes 10451, 10452, 10453, 10454, 10455, 10456, 10457, 10459, 10460, and 105474.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Carolina Leid

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