Examining the Affordability and Availability of Diverse Produce in New York City Bodegas

Worksite Location
Project Dates
June 1 - August 1, 2018
Faculty Sponsor
Tashara Leak
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Jennifer Tiffany
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The Advanced Cooking Education (ACE) Program is a 4-H after school club that will target minority youth and incorporates hip hop restorative yin yoga, culinary science mini lessons, and cooking labs where youth prepare dinner meals that are packaged and sent home to feed their family. The ACE Program will consist of 10 after school sessions, each session will include an offering of a fruit or vegetable snack that highlights the diverse produce available in New York City bodegas. The goal is to expose ACE scholars to novel fruits and vegetables that are not commonly consumed, but are nonetheless affordable, available, and accessible. In the summer of 2018, corner stores located within a block of pre-selected schools in New York City will be audited for fruit and vegetable availability. The 10 most affordable and available fruits and vegetables will be later incorporated into the ACE Program curriculum and offered as a healthy snack. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Overall, the student intern will be responsible for identifying fruit and vegetable snacks offered at each of the 10 ACE Program after school sessions. Working with their faculty and extension mentors, they will first identify an appropriate and previously validated corner store audit form. They will then create a list of corners stores located within a block of pre-identified schools. A list of the corner stores will be created and then the student will write a 1 page summary explaining the purpose of the corner store audits that will be translated as needed. This 1 page summary will be given to the corner store owner and verbal permission will be obtained to conduct the audit. Based on the findings from the corner store audit, the student intern will make a recommendation for which fruits and vegetables should be considered for the 4-H ACE Program after school club curriculum. 

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The student intern should have volunteer and/or work experience in racially and socioeconomically communities  (e.g,. volunteer at food bank). Previous experience volunteering and/or working with cooperative extension in any capacity will be favorably considered.   Preferred Coursework (or equivalent): Introduction to Public Health, Preparation for Engaged Learning in Global & Public Health Sciences, Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition, Healthy Places: Design, Planning, & Public Health.   *Ability to speak, read, and write in languages other than English is a plus. 

Benefits and Skills

In addition to learning how to conduct corner store audits, student interns will gain immense experience engaging with racially and socioeconomically diverse communities. With the development of the one-page project summary for corner store owners, the student intern will learn how to write materials for the general public.   All interns who are housed at the Cornell Cooperative Extension-New York City office will attend weekly informal seminars where they will share updates about their respective projects. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about what each of the summer interns are doing, as well as an opportunity to practice presenting in preparation for the final CHE-CCE event. Also, summer interns may have opportunities to participate in relevant extension-related field trips (e.g., 4-H after school club, Cornell Food Ventures Center-Brooklyn, etc.).   Please note: If the student intern demonstrates exemplary performance, they may be invited to work on the ACE Program in other capacities. The ACE Program curriculum will be developed and pilot tested within the next 2 years.