DC Central Kitchen tops 1 million ‘Healthy Corners’ meals

DC Central Kitchen marked 1 million units of fresh food through its Healthy Corners program Jan. 16 at the Elmira Market on South Capitol Street, one of its Healthy Corners partner stores. (Courtesy DC Central Kitchen)

D.C. Central Kitchen’s “Healthy Corners” program topped 1 million units of affordable food sold through small D.C. stores since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthy Corners, launched in 2011, served a double purpose during the pandemic. Its nutritious food reached D.C. residents in food-challenged neighborhoods, and it also helped small, local farmers who faced challenges during the pandemic getting their produce sold through traditional channels.

Through partnerships with local farms and wholesale distribution partners, the program invested more than $3.4 million in local farmers to sustain their business and prevent crop waste.

Since 2020, more than 50 small retailers have been stocking and selling Healthy Corners foods. Stores are able to buy the produce and healthy snacks at wholesale prices and in smaller quantities, then sell it at below-market prices.

DC Central Kitchen estimates, on average, Healthy Corners has sold between 350,000 and 370,000 units of food per year since 2020.

An additional boost to sales came after it partnered with DC Health and federal nutrition programs that allowed several of the retailers to accept SNAP and WIC benefits from D.C. residents on food assistance programs.

In addition to Healthy Corners, DC Central Kitchen’s programs include meals for nonprofits, youth programs and shelters, farm-to-school menus at D.C. schools and culinary job training.

DC Central Kitchen distributed almost 3.6 million meals in its most recent fiscal year, serving 360 sites across the District. It has thousands of donors and financial supporters.

The nonprofit is in the process of moving into a new, much larger, 36,000-square-foot center of operations with classrooms, kitchens and offices in Buzzard Point on D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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