In the Bronx, bodegas are a way of life. You can get everything from snacks to supper. But who chooses what they sell? Why is their stuff so cheap? And where do all those chips come from? 

In 2008, students from New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers, CUP, and CUP teaching artist Jonathan Bogarín investigated bodegas in the Bronx.

Through interviews with bodegueros, food distributors, government officials, health professionals, and alternative Bronx food establishments, the group learned about how bodegas operate, what role they play in urban communities, and how they fit into the larger question of food access in low-income communities.

We debuted the video at The Point Community Development Corporation to pass along what we learned on the potato chip trail. It has since been screened at such venues as MoMA, CUNY Law School, Weeksville Heritage Center, El Puente, the Department of Juvenile Justice, NYC food justice organizations, and in classrooms ranging from Economics to Health.

Get your own copy of the video here!

You can also watch the video here:

Resources & Links

Baum Forum organizes annual conferences about food and farming issues and invited CUP to its 2008 conference on Schools, Food, and Community.

New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers is a youth development and community service program that empowers young people to make positive change in their neighborhoods.

The Point CDC is a nonprofit dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx.

Jetro Cash and Carry is a wholesale supplier for food businesses and nonprofits, servicing many of New York’s bodegas.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the Sprint Foundation.

Special Thanks

To our interviewees: Robert Alvarado (Jetro), José Manuel Céspedes, Lorena Drago, Ramón Osvaldo Espinoza, Frank Falcon, Stanley Fleishman (Jetro), Milton Gil, Myra Gordon (Hunts Point Cooperative Market), Confesor Rafael Grullón, Zena Nelson (Bronx Food Co-Op), Sinocencio Rodriguez, Nydia Velázquez (U.S. Congress), Lou (Utz).

Elan Bogarín, Jack Doyle, Helki Frantzen, Mindy Fullilove, Nilda Gil, Joel Key, Andrea Meller, Woodrow Morales, Sarah Pappas, Carol Sun, Dan Wiley, The Hunts Point Department of Public Safety, and the 9th and 10th graders from New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers.

Participants

  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Jonathan Bogarín
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Designer
  • Rosten Woo
  • Project Support
  • Sarah Nelson Wright
  • New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers
  • Students
  • Kimberly Campos
  • Wendy Concepción
  • Margaret Jimenez
  • Paula Brown 
  • Sandra Evans 
  • Alanna Figueroa
  • Elizabeth Irizarray
  • Christopher Miree
  • Daniel Sanabria
  • Staff
  • Jennifer Classon 
  • Krystal Gonzalez 
  • Hugh Roberts
  • Andy Kennedy
  • Animation
  • Office of Jeff
  • Packaging Design
  • Jeff Lai

Press

Bronx Bodegas for Beginners
  • Curbed
  • March 14, 2012

This documentary is a good primer on the bodega industry.

Where Does Your (Convenience Store) Food Come From?
  • Gilt Taste
  • August 31, 2011

These students take the opportunity to really explore how this little corner of the city works… and what results is one of the smartest, most nuanced, and most fun documents on the subject we’ve ever seen.

Feeding the Bronx
  • Edible Geography
  • January 12, 2010

CUP has created an awesome video that explores some of the economic and consumer forces that create the South Bronx foodscape.

Bodega Down Bronx
  • Design Observer
  • January 07, 2010

Like all CUP projects Bodega Down Bronx is inspired by the conviction that cities and their complex systems and politics can be made legible and transparent.