Hawken Students Complete Food Audits in Glenville

The Health and Nutrition Working Group collaborated with a group of Hawken School students to complete an inventory of all of the food retail outlets in the Glenville neigbborhood of Cleveland on December 2nd.  This group of high school students is completing a semester class that focused on local food and food systems.  They visited Local Roots in Wooster, Hartzler's Dairy, a regional poultry processing facility, the Green Corps Program, and met with a range of experts and practioners in local food. 

One of the areas within the food system the students have been studying is healthy food access.  Hawken School just opened the Sally and Bob Gries Center, an extension campus in University Circle, and ithe Glenville Project was a great opportunity for the students to learn more about the neighborhood surrounding the center. Glenville was also one of the communities identified by the Brookings Institution's recent report on Supermarket Low Access Areas in cooperation with The Redevelopment Fund.

Results of the Food Retail Audit: We broke up into four groups visited 20 stores in total.  The students were looking at different characteristics in order to classify the stores into categories of food retail using operational definitions developed by the CWRU's Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods.  They counted the number of aisles of food vs. non-food, the varieties of fruits, the varieties of vegetables, the number of registers, and the varieties of milk (i.s. skim, 2%, whole).

A few of stores were no longer in operation including a larger grocery store on Wade Park Avenue.  Only three stores out of the 20 we surveyed had any fresh produce available and only one of these stores had more than 8 different types of fruits and vegetables.  Only one store carried three varieties of milk including skim.  After classifying each store according to the PRC's system we found 12 corner stores, 2 convenience stores, 1 small grocery store, and 1 butcher shop in Glenville.

Student's Reflections:  In our discussion after the audit, the students shared several observations about their experiences.  Most everyone found the store owners to be friendly and cooperative and noticed that most of the residents knew the store managers and owners.  A lot of the students found that the stores carried the same types and brands of food and beverages and that alcohol and beer took up a lot of shelf space in many of the stores.  Many students commented that it would be very difficult to maintain a healthy diet if they only had access to these stores.

Next Steps:  The students are going to summarize their results and do some additional research on income, car ownership, and demographics of the Glenville neighborhood.  All of the data they have collected will be included in the Health and Nutrition Working Group's project on healthy food access and transportation and Glenville will be one of the communities included in this project.