Fresh Corners: Bringing healthy food to corner stores in “food deserts”

In 2015, Just Harvest and the Allegheny County Health Department launched Fresh Corners, a healthy corner store initiative to improve access to fresh food in under-served Allegheny County neighborhoods.

The Problem

According to a 2012 federal report, among cities of its size (with populations of 250,000‐500,000) Pittsburgh has the largest percentage of people residing in communities with “low‐supermarket access” – food deserts. Nearly half (145,245) of Pittsburgh residents were experiencing this low access, and 71% of them were low‐income.

Our 2013 food desert report, “A Menu for Food Justice,” concluded that in solving this problem, “one size doesn’t fit all.” Just because a neighborhood lacks a large supermarket doesn’t mean a large supermarket is the solution for all food deserts. Diverse struggling neighborhoods have different sorts of barriers to access to nutritious and affordable food and different sorts of resources to address them.

A Solution

Like Fresh Access – our successful program to enable farmers markets to accept food stamps – Fresh Corners is a forward-looking and creative response to the problem of “food deserts.” The program seeks to improve communities from within by partnering with local store owners to provide affordable access to fresh, nutritious, foods.

Our staff begins with a series of neighborhood assessments, stakeholder meetings, and focus groups necessary to identify the corner store owners and communities that are ready to undertake these new ventures. We make sure any store that joins the Fresh Corners network is also a SNAP retailer so that its new healthy foods can be purchased with food stamps. We supply store owners with the information and materials they need to succeed, and provide shoppers with nutritional information, such as through the Green Light Foods mobile app.

We are proud to partner with the Allegheny County Health Department to use nationally proven models for healthy corner store development as part of the food access solution for low-income neighborhoods and the people who live in them.

We are also proud of the fact that nine of our eleven current Fresh Corners store owners are people of color.

Food Bucks and Fresh Corners

The Fresh Corners program has partnered with the Food Trust in order to provide the Food Bucks program at select Fresh Corners stores.  The Food Bucks program aims to help SNAP shoppers purchase more fresh produce by providing coupons and incentives for SNAP purchases. Food Bucks can also be used at participating farmers markets and Green Grocer mobile markets.

Fresh Corner Stores with Food Bucks:
For every $5 that a customers spends in SNAP they receive a $2 Food Buck to purchase fresh produce at the store.
SNAP transactions below $5 will still receive one $2 Food Buck.
In & Out Market
300 Helen St, McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Hours: Daily 7am–10pm
Produce Marketplace
519 Saint Clair Ave, Clairton, PA 15227

Hours: Closed Monday | Tu/Th 11am–2pm | Wed/Fri 3am–6pm | Sat 10am–7pm | Sun 12pm–3pm
Rocks Express
700 Frederick St, McKees Rocks, PA 15136

Hours: Mon-Sun 8am–10pm 

Fresh Corners Locations

Fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, oranges, potatoes, and onions are now available – and can be purchased using food stamps – at the following nine stores (with one more in development).

Juba Grocery International African Market is a Fresh Corners corner store, providing healthy food access at 2721 Brownsville Rd

Juba Grocery | Brentwood
2721 Brownsville Rd. 15227

Produce Marketplace storefront | Frank Sottile (TrailBlaze Creative)

Produce Marketplace | Clairton
519 Saint Clair Ave. 15227

Farm Fresh Food Market is a Fresh Corners corner store, providing healthy food access at 226 N. Negley Ave

Farm Fresh Food Market | East Liberty
226 N. Negley Ave. 15206

Ann's Market is a Fresh Corners corner store, providing healthy food access at 2316 Webster Ave

Ann’s Market | The Hill
2316 Webster Ave. 15219

L.A. Grocery is a Fresh Corners corner store, providing healthy food access at 511 Larimer Ave

L. A. Grocery | Larimer
511 Larimer Ave. 15206

East African Grocery is a Fresh Corners store

East African Grocery | McKees Rocks
1008 Dorhman Rd. 15136

In & Out Market is a Fresh Corners store at 300 Helen St.

In & Out | McKees Rocks
300 Helen St. 15136

Fresh Corners is at Rocks Express at 700 Frederick St. in McKees Rocks

Rocks Express | McKees Rocks
700 Frederick St. 15136

Bailey Food Mart is now a Fresh Corners store

Bailey Food Mart | McKeesport
2316 Bailie Ave. 15132

Yetters Candy is a Fresh Corners store

Yetter’s Candies | Millvale
504 Grant Ave. 15209

Schwartz Super Market is now a Fresh Corners store

Schwartz Super Market | Uptown
1901 Fifth Ave 15219


Want to see a Fresh Corners store in your neighborhood?

Contact our Fresh Corners coordinator:
Dawn Marie Smith at / (412) 431-8960 x122

Live Well Allegheny Community PartnerFresh Corners is a program of Allegheny County Health Department’s Live Well Allegheny, which is a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. Live Well Allegheny is funded in part by the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Make a tax-deductible donation to support this program

Type “For Fresh Corners” as your answer to the “What inspired you to give?” question. Or you can send a check to us with “Fresh Corners” in the memo, or call us at (412) 431-8960 x601 so we can take your donation over the phone.