Who decides where supermarkets go? Are there enough supermarkets in the Bronx? Why does it matter? In the summer of 2012, CUP collaborated with teaching artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and a group of public high school students from CUNY College Now at Hostos Community College to look at who gets supermarkets, who doesn’t, and why.

To find answers, the group got out of the classroom and into the frozen food aisles. We visited grocery stores across the boroughs, the Fresh Direct distribution site planned for the Bronx, and the real estate department of a major supermarket. For the story on how supermarkets choose sites, we interviewed the CEO of Western Beef, a supermarket site analyst, the Department of City Planning, a Bronx Community Board member, community organizers, and public health experts.

We’ve designed a booklet to teach others what’s funky and what’s fresh about Bronx supermarket access. At the end of the summer, NYU hosted a public event where students presented the project to a standing-room only crowd. At this event, students put their interviewing skills back to work in a live interview with James Johnson-Piett of Urbane Development about strategies other cities have used to bring grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods. The project is also being featured on WBAI and will be distributed to food justice organizations throughout the city. 

Get your copy of the Funky Fresh booklet today, here!

Resources & Links

Bronx Health REACH is a community coalition working to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.

College Now at Hostos is a free City University of New York program designed to prepare NYC’s public high school students for success in college. 

Department of City Planning FRESH Initiative provides zoning and financial incentives to promote the establishment and retention of neighborhood grocery stores in underserved communities throughout the five boroughs.

Green Beans Not Walgreens is organizing to bring a supermarket to the Windsor Terrace neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Matthew Casey and Associates performs supermarket site evaluations, real estate strategy, and consumer research for supermarkets and developers. 

Urbane Development is a community and economic development firm specializing in neighborhood scale development and revitalization of urban commercial and retail amenities, particularly in underserved communities.

Funding support

This project was made possible by the CUNY College Now program. Additional support was provided by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

Special thanks

To our interviewees: Matthew Casey (Matthew P Casey and Associates); Mychal Johnson (Bronx Community Board 1); Jodi Bryon and Barry Dinerstein (Department of City Planning, FRESH Initiative); Kelly Moltzen and Bernice McFarline (Bronx Health REACH).

More special thanks to: Murad Awawdeh, Lila Barrett, Hilary Baum, Sabine Bernards, Marino Corniel, Brian Gonzalez, Elizabeth Hamby, Matthew Hoffman, Matt Klein, Dory Kornfeld, David J. Livingston, Sandi Lohan, Sam Marks, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Lara Nahas, Evan O’Donnell, Francesca Perry, Rocio Rayo, David Stein, Juell Stewart, Brindalyn Webster Chen, Stephanie Yee, and all the supermarkets near Hostos.

Participants

  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Hatuey Ramos-Fermín
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich

  • Teaching artist assistant
  • Amauris Hernandez
  • Project Support
  • Clara Amenyo 
  • Christine Gaspar 
  • Sam Holleran
  • CUNY College Now at Hostos Community College
    Students

    Marberd Bernard 

    • Brando Campos
    • Shanty Castillo 
    • Misael Castro 
    • Lisette De Jesus 
    • Richard Heard 
    • Isiah Jaime 
    • Brandon Khirodhar 
    • Inés Loja 
    • Marimar Mantuano 
    • Gregory Feliz Moquete 
    • Xavier Pérez 
    • Claudia Ramirez 
    • Shimu Siddika 
    • Chavonne Stokes 
    • Katherine Taveras 
    • Nicole Ureña
    • Project Support
    • Elizabeth Wilson, Samantha Sinclair, Christine Coronado, Lawrence Anderson

    • Book Design
    • Megan Bullock (MESH Design)

    Press

    Guest Lesson | Thinking Critically About Food in a Season of Plenty
    • New York Times Learning Network
    • November 13, 2012

    [Students] interviewed experts from fields ranging from real estate to food distribution to urban planning. They summarized their findings in a booklet about food justice…

    Funky Fresh Means Access to Healthy Food in the Bronx
    • WBAI
    • October 19, 2012

    The visuals were so breathtaking… the kids [who took part in the project] learned a lot of new skill sets.