Cass Clay Food Commission Working to Put Healthier Food Options in Corner Stores

the cass clay food commission is using a blueprint to model how other towns across the U.S. put more healthy food in gas stations, convenience stores

FARGO, ND — When you go to the gas station or a convenience store, there typically aren’t many healthy options.

Cass Clay Food Commission says they’re trying to change that.

The Cass Clay Food Commission says the number one food trend they’re seeing across the F-M area is that people want more access to locally grown items.

“We’ve seen kind of an explosion in that area,” said Kim Lipetzky, Fargo Cass Public Health nutritionist.  “The Red River Market and the various farmer’s markets around town are doing really well.”

Now the commission is trying to get more of those products in gas stations and convenience stores which might not carry as many locally grown food options.

“It’s not about demonizing one type of business or one specific brand or label, but it’s about making it easier for all of us to create these opportunities for people to make healthy choices,” said Noelle Harden with the Cass Clay Food Commission.

Whitney Oxendahl presented a blueprint to the commission that shows what healthier food in corner stores looks like from an economic, health, social and environmental perspective.

“Then it gives an example of a policy from Minneapolis and what they did to increase the amount of healthy foods in their stores,” Oxendahl said.

From an economic perspective, Lipetzky says healthier food can actually be better for someone’s wallet.

“Growing your own food can be a nice way to have more affordable types of food and then things like cutting coupons, looking at specials, planning your meals. Those types of things can keep you from buying on impulse and can be pretty cost effective.”

Some say changing the way people view healthy food starts by exposing them at a young age.

“It takes 18-20 times before a child to be exposed to a food item before they like it. So keep exposing them,” Oxendahl said. “Let’s start them out in a healthy place so they can grow up so they can grow up to be healthy adults as well.”

There’s also the health of the Fargo-Moorhead community as a whole.

“Things like investing in our local growers, supporting the farmer’s market, investing in systems that just make it easier for people to make these kinds of decision in their day-to-day life. Of course those things are important,” Harden said.

The commission will host a Future of Food event November 20 to celebrate healthy options already provided throughout the F-M area.

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