Source: CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK submitted to
CURBSIDE GROCERIES: THE GROCERY STORE THAT COMES TO YOU
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
EXTENDED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1025073
Grant No.
2020-70030-33179
Project No.
DC.W-2020-06236
Proposal No.
2020-06236
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
FPP
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2020
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2022
Grant Year
2020
Project Director
Hicks, A.
Recipient Organization
CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK
4900 PUERTO RICO AVE NE
WASHINGTON,DC 200172313
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
Through Curbside Groceries ("Curbside"), a mobile grocery truck, which offers affordable groceries for sale at nine community partner stops in Ward 8 of the District of Columbia, Capital Area Food Bank will increase access to affordable fresh produce in neighborhoods with the highest food insecurity rates, the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP benefits, and the greatest health, economic, and geographic disparities. We will increase access to and purchase of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious items by low-income individuals living in Washington, DC neighborhoods classified by the USDA as food deserts. Our goal is that the added convenience and removal of transportation barriers will result in higher demand for low cost, nutritious foods, particularly fresh produce. With the addition of an incentivization of doubling fruits and vegetables with SNAP purchases through this GusNIP pilot project, we project an increase in produce consumption. This in turn, will lead to improved health outcomes for Ward 8 residents. When the Curbside grocery truck makes its stops at partner site locations in Ward 8, patrons will have the opportunity to double the amount of any GusNIP qualifying fruits and/or vegetables they receive upon purchase of any GusNIP qualifying fruits and/or vegetables through SNAP EBT.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
40%
Applied
40%
Developmental
20%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
70450103030100%
Knowledge Area
704 - Nutrition and Hunger in the Population;

Subject Of Investigation
5010 - Food;

Field Of Science
3030 - Information and communication;
Goals / Objectives
Through Curbside Groceries, a mobile grocery truck, which offers affordable groceries for sale at nine community partner stops in Ward 8 of the District of Columbia, Capital Area Food Bank will increase access to affordable fresh produce in neighborhoods with the highest food insecurity rates, the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP benefits, and the greatest health, economic, and geographic disparities. The goal of this initiative is to provide an affordable, high-quality mobile grocery shopping experience for residents in Ward 8 of the District of Columbia. Curbside Groceries operates in neighborhoods of Ward 8 experiencing transportation barriers and gaps in accessibility of affordable, nutritious food. Ward 8 has one of the highest food insecurity rates in our region--27% of its 78,000 residents are food insecure. Compounding the issue is the fact that only one supermarket exists in an area where public transportation is scarce and unreliable, illustrating the challenges that residents face in a food desert with few retail grocery options that do not provide adequate nutrition. Curbside Groceries addresses this gap by providing a full market basket of goods and groceries year-round - including fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, proteins, and pantry staples right where people live. In a survey of 2,000 people across our service region, 90% of respondents were interested in purchasing groceries and prepared meals for themselves if offered at affordable prices and within easy walking distance of their home, work, or school. They also wanted an option that would provide a full market basket of food that would be available throughout the year, as opposed to seasonally. This survey helped to identify gaps that a mobile retail model is uniquely positioned to fill. The addition of a mobile retail grocery option is intended to remove transportation barriers, create access to healthy food, and enable healthier diets for all residents in Ward 8.Curbside Groceries also aims to encourage additional investment in the creation of affordable retail options for Ward 8 residents. The initiative aims to prove there is a market for alternative format grocery stores that can provide viable returns and meet a social need in areas that currently lack access to affordable, healthy food. We track costs, margins, and other data to share with impact investors and entrepreneurs in efforts to encourage greater investment in the region.In the first two weeks of operation, Curbside Groceries sold nearly $500 of groceries. Early data indicates that Saturday is the most popular shopping day, and the top two categories of purchased items are produce and poultry. Moving forward, CAFB will continue to raise awareness, enhance the user experience, assess demand, and vary its offerings accordingly. Curbside Groceries has received an enthusiastic and warm welcome in the community. Within just a couple of weeks of operation, we had 157 customer transactions. Since then, there have been 528 total transactions and we have sold over 1,500 product units before having to suspend operations due to COVID-19. The Curbside Groceries team continues to refine metrics with the anticipation of modified services in the future based on social distancing guidelines.CAFB called on community stakeholders to help with this process, which resulted in parties from DC Health, DCRA, and others prescribing a process specifically for this project.We have resumed services for Curbside, with the anticipation of carrying out our new SNAP produce incentivization pilot project from September 2020 through August 2021. When the Curbside grocery truck makes its stops at partner site locations in Ward 8, patrons will have the opportunity to double the amount of any GusNIP qualifying fruits and/or vegetables they receive upon purchase of any GusNIP qualifying fruits and/or vegetables through SNAP EBT. We have not previously administered this incentive program for Curbside, but believe this program will enable us to better achieve our goal of increasing fresh produce availability, affordability, and consumption in DC's Ward 8. We can track how many SNAP participants are engaging in this pilot project and what items they are purchasing, based on sales reports on transaction tender, including SNAP EBT. This will inform us of our success in incentivizing healthier food choices.In order to promote this new incentive, we will engage our partner sites in a targeted outreach campaign, including communications such as social media and partner websites, as well as mailed flyers to zip codes and general outreach by program staff in Ward 8. Most patrons already know that they can use SNAP EBT through posted information on the Curbside truck and from partner site communications, but we will increase visibility and awareness of this option and incentive.Our goals for our produce incentivization project are:1. Increase quantity of fruits and vegetables purchased. a. Intended Outcome: Organizationally, we have a goal of increasing our produce distribution to 50% of our total food distributions. This opportunity to incentivize produce purchase will automatically double our produce output from Curbside Groceries. Curbside is well suited to indicate success in this goal, because we have consistently heard from patrons that produce items are in high demand. Our most recent March sales report (Curbside has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19) for the entire period that Curbside has been operating (January 19 through March 7) illustrates that 1,018 produce units were purchased totaling $710 in produce sales, which is about equivalent to all other product categories including dairy, protein, and other goods combined. This further illustrates that a primary barrier to produce consumption is affordability. Increased produce consumption will, in turn, lead to greater health outcomes.2. Increase SNAP EBT as a higher percentage of all sales. a. Intended Outcome: SNAP EBT transactions are currently 13% of all purchases, lower than cash and credit/debit transactions. By offering an incentivization for produce items that are typically not available due to cost and the absence of grocery store options in Ward 8, we anticipate an increase in SNAP EBT transactions. Additionally, we anticipate greater awareness among SNAP recipients through our increased promotional and marketing efforts.Additionally, when possible, we strive to offer locally-sourced products, particularly fresh produce from local farms.
Project Methods
The Curbside Groceries team facilitates customer satisfaction surveys to Curbside Groceries patrons to gather feedback about the Curbside Groceries shopping experience, quality of inventory, and other aspects of the program. This information is gathered regularly to ensure that Curbside Groceries offers the best customer experience, including a pre-pilot baseline survey with follow-ups on the second, third, fourth, and fifth visits. Success measures include outcomes such as increased consumption of healthy, nutritious, diet-appropriate foods, increased frequency of home cooking with foods from Curbside, and reported monthly grocery savings/reduction in monthly financial burden. CAFB will provide self-assessment data to the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Centers. We regularly provide similar reports for other government programs and to Feeding America and thus have the experience necessary to manage data reporting expectations. For this produce incentivization pilot, we will modify our evaluation surveys to better understand qualitatively if the incentive of doubling of produce through SNAP EBT has increased patrons' interest in purchasing produce from Curbside Groceries.

Progress 09/01/20 to 08/31/21

Outputs
Target Audience: Curbside Groceries("Curbside")is a mobilegrocerytruck that visits at least three unique locations weeklyin Washington,DC's Ward 8with the goal of creating equitable access to nutritious food at affordable prices. "The food store that comes to you" provides residents in areas with few nutritious grocery options with a full market basket of high-quality produce, meat, dairy, fish, baking, and healthy shelf stable pantry items. The mobile grocery truck accepts cash, credit, debit, and SNAPEBT.Curbsidewas created based on what the Capital Area Food Bank ("CAFB") has consistently heard from its clients: families want access to good, healthy groceries close to where they live or work, buttheyface transportation and affordability barriers. In a survey that CAFB conducted of nearly 2,000 people it serves, 90 percent of respondents expressed interest in affordable options for groceries and cooking within walking distance of their home.Surveyresults illustratethat food insecure communities that relyon foodassistance also have some budget for food, and thevast majority want to purchase their food. This survey helped to identify gaps that a mobile retail model was uniquely positioned to fill.Themobile retail grocery option is intended to remove transportation barriers, create access to nutritious food, and enable healthier diets for residents acrossourregion. The innovative design of the truck provides a shopping experience unlike anything currently available in the communities it serves. Curbside currently provides an affordablemobile grocery option forprimarilylow-income residentsof Ward 8 in Washington, DC,at seven community locations:Kramer Middle School,Ketcham Elementary School,Anacostia High School,UPO - Petey Greene,Hart Middle School,Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School,andNew Parkchester Housing Cooperative.Through Curbside, CAFB increases access to affordable fresh produce in neighborhoods with the highest food insecurity rates, the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP benefits, andsome ofthe greatest health, economic, andgeographicdisparitiesand inequitiesin our service area. Our goal is that the added convenience and removal of transportation barriersprovidedby Curbsideresultsin higher demand for low cost, nutritious foods, particularly fresh producein the Ward 8 communities we serve. With the addition of an incentivizationof doubling fruits and vegetables with SNAP purchases throughourGusNIPpilot project("Take Two! Eat fresh for less with SNAP" or "Take Two"), producepurchasesandconsumptionhaveincreased among our customers. This in turn, will lead to improved health outcomes for Ward 8 residents. CAFB identifies areas, down to theCensus tract-level, with high levels of food insecurity and low access to healthy, affordable food and transportation. Based on these indicators, the Curbside team solicits feedback from community stakeholders, policymakers, its nonprofit partners, and its client network to develop site locations that will provide the most convenience to those in need.We also use data about food insecurity and food access in Ward 8, along with information about transportation and proximity to community sites such as schools, recreation centers, and apartment buildings in order to identify the neighborhoods that would most benefit from Curbsideand our SNAP nutrition incentive pilot.Our Data and Analytics team hasalso developeddata visualization tools, such as our Hunger Heat Map, which aggregates Census data and key correlative indicators of hungerto help determine where we can reach our target clientele. This resource assists us not only in determining where the most vulnerable populations live and where gaps inservicecoverage are, but it also informs local policymakers from the neighborhood to the county and state levels on the unique challenges and circumstances faced by those who are food insecure. Through this analysis we target specific underserved neighborhoodsin Ward 8,such asWashington Highlands, Congress Heights, Fort Stanton, and Anacostia.AllCurbside sites are directly within Federal Opportunity Zonesor servepeople residing in Federal Opportunity Zones. Curbside operates at sites inCensus tracts that have the highest food insecurity rates in our service areaand the highestpercentage of households receiving SNAP benefitsin our service area.For example,an estimated 32.1% of residents ofCensus Tract 74.01are food insecure and 53.8% of residentsreceive SNAP benefits.Of those who receive SNAP benefits, 81% also live below the poverty level. Data guides ourtargeted outreach through Curbside and our SNAP incentive pilot, particularly for Ward 8, where low-income residents face a confluence of challengesand inequitiesthat inhibit access to adequate nutrition.Over a quarter of the roughly80,500residents in Ward 8 are food insecure due primarily to a lack of access to affordable,healthy food.Compounding the issue is the fact that only one supermarket exists in an area where public transportation is scarce and unreliable, illustrating the challenges that residents face in a food desert with few retail grocery options that do not provide adequate nutrition.This inability to access affordable, healthy food widens health disparities. For example,Ward 8 residents are five times more likely to die from diabetes than those in Ward 3, andlife expectancyin Ward 8 is over 30 years lesscompared toWard 3.We believe throughgreateraccess toaffordablefresh produce we canimprove health outcomesin Ward 8 where primary barriers tohealthierlivesare brought on by transportation challenges and food deserts.Only five Census tracts out of twenty-three in Ward 8 are not classified as food desertsand half of all food deserts in DC are located in Ward 8. Overall,our outreach in the community has been positiveand well received, withmostof our salescoming from SNAPEBT.As part of our efforts to targetsenior populations for our SNAP incentive,we learned that manybelieve theyarenot eligiblefor SNAP.Thislearningbrought about byourGusNIPpilot,presents an opportunity for greater SNAP outreachin the community. Changes/Problems: The greatest challenge to project implementationhas beeninterruptions to Curbside's operations brought on by COVID-19 andmechanical issues on the truck. When our pilot started, Curbside had just resumed service afterCOVID-19 forcedus to suspend operations.During the reporting period, we have encountered someadditionaldisruptions tooperationsthat have of courseimpacted promotion of our SNAP incentive.Much focusearly in thereporting periodwas alsoaroundincreasing awareness again of Curbside in general, afterservice was suspended due to COVID-19. Additional safety measures and practices on the truck had to be developed as well.Due to thedisruptionsin Curbside operations, we were approved for a one-year no cost extensionand a budget change tobetter align our sales projections andbetter reflectour need for increased outreach. During the reporting period, we have also learned that sometimespatrons have noted that theydidnot participate in theSNAP incentive promotionbecause it wouldlead toan excess of produce in their homes thattheywouldnot want towaste.This wasmost apparentfor seniors. We also have encountered thatmany seniorsdo not qualify for SNAP or believe that they do not qualify. This has of courselimited somewhat our reach and ability to grow the SNAP incentive initiative. While we had originally stipulated our intention to pilot a "produce for produce" incentive model whereby customers would receive a 1:1 match on produce for every purchase made via SNAPEBT onGusNIP-qualifying produce, wewere approved toshift our incentive model to a "any SNAP-eligible food purchase for produce model." In this model, customers receive a 1:1 match on produce for every purchasemade via SNAPEBT on any SNAP-eligible food items, albeit preferably on produce purchases.This incentive model changehasenabledus to better meet our customers' purchase preferences as well as best enabledus to expendincentive costs. All the while, this modelhasstill encouragedgreater consumption of fruits and vegetables.? What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Although not an original goalof ourGusNIPgrant, during this reporting period we haveofferedjob training toShiftsmartworkerson the Curbside truckas an added benefit.Trainings have entailed aspects such as learning best practices for customer engagement, recognition ofproduce items, food safety education including proper storing of perishables, andlearning the importance of regular cycle counts such as accounting of specificitems. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? In order to promoteourSNAPincentive, wehaveprogressed in our goals toengage ourCurbsidesites in a targeted outreach campaign, including communicationsthroughsocial media and partner websites, mailed flyers tospecificzip codes,as well asgeneral outreach by program staff in Ward 8.Posted information on the Curbside truckalso informscustomers ofthe SNAP incentive. During the reporting period,we have alsocreated a dedicated website to Curbside(https://curbsidegroceries.org/). Featured prominently on the home page isanadvertisement for our SNAP incentive pilot reading,"Check out'Take Two! Eat fresh for less with SNAP.'When you buy oneitem with EBT, you get your choice of free produce at equal or lesser value!"? Specificexamples ofoutreach to the community to raise awareness and visibility of our SNAP incentive haveincluded: Regularsocial mediaposts to Curbside partners with schedule and promotion information. Instagramand other social mediapostson Curbside'sschedule and menu offerings. Sponsored ads on Facebook. Postcard mailingsto specific zip codes announcingthe "Take Two"SNAP incentivepromotion. Scheduled tours aroundWard 8with theCurbsidetruckfor visibility. Staff participation in community eventsto raise awareness and conduct outreach. Curbside also aims to encourage additional investment in the creation of affordable retail options for Ward 8 residents. Theinitiative aims to prove there is a market for alternative format grocery stores that can provide viable returns and meet a social need in areas that currently lack access to affordable, healthy food. Wehope to sharecosts, margins, and other datawith impact investors and entrepreneurs in efforts to encourage greater investment in the region. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?In the next reporting period, we will focus primarily onvamping up our outreach in the community to increase awarenessof theSNAP incentiveavailable to Curbside customers.Specifically, we willfocus on implementing a broader marketing campaign to includeadditional strategies such as posters at bus stops and possibly radio advertisements.We will also focuson greateroutreach to specificfood insecurepopulations and communities, such as seniors and veterans.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Through Curbside Groceries, a mobile grocery truck, which offers affordable groceries for saleatcommunity partner stops in Ward 8 of the District of Columbia, Capital Area Food Bankhasincreasedaccess toandpurchaseofaffordable fresh produceand other nutritious items by low-income individuals living in food deserts andin neighborhoods with the highest food insecurity rates, the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP benefits, and the greatest health, economic, and geographic disparities.To achieve this outcome, Curbside Groceries'GusNIPincentiveinitiative hasincreased thepurchases of fresh fruits and vegetables among SNAP customersby offering the opportunityfor customers todouble up on the produce they receive when making a purchase of any SNAP-eligible item on the Curbside Groceries truck. In this reporting period,we have accomplished our two main goals for ourGusNIPSNAP incentive pilot, "Take Two!Eat Fresh for Less with SNAP":Goal1:Increase quantity of fruits and vegetables purchased; andGoal2:Increase SNAP EBT as a higher percentage of all sales. 1. Increase quantity of fruits andvegetables purchased In this reporting period, produce was by far our top selling item,more than double that of other product categories on the truck.Additionally,over half of the transactions are connected to SNAP users.Beforethe start of ourGusNIPinitiative, SNAP EBT transactions accounted for 13% of all purchases, which was lower than cash and credit/debit transactions. Through our SNAP incentive pilot, we have successfully increased SNAP EBT as a higher percentage of all sales. In the reporting period, the majority of sales on Curbside weremade viaSNAP EBT.This illustrates howanincentivization for produce items that are typically not available due to cost and the absence of grocery store options in Ward 8,hasled toan increase in SNAP EBT transactions. 2.Increase SNAP EBT as a higher percentage of all sales. Throughour "Take Two!" pilot so far, we haveincreasedaccess to affordable fresh produce in neighborhoodsof DC's Ward 8with the highest food insecurity rates, the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP benefits, and thegreatest barriers to food access and affordability in our service area. Through this initiative,patrons havehadtheopportunity tomatchthe amount of anyGusNIPqualifying fruits and/or vegetables they receive upon purchase of anySNAP-eligible item. We have not previously administered this incentive program for Curbside, but believe this program willcontinue toenable us to better achieve our goal of increasing fresh produce availability, affordability, and consumption in DC's Ward 8.As mentioned previously, customer survey results have illustratedthat about half of Curbside customers are participating in our "Take Two" SNAP incentiveand over 95%state that they have greater accessto and are purchasing more healthy and nutritious groceries. Additionally, when possible, we strive to offer locally-sourced products, particularly fresh produce from local farms.In this reporting period, we have made connections to a local farm that we hope to incorporate in the next growing season. Part of the challenge of sourcing from local farms is in volume and delivery that requires additional logistical coordination.

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