How Do Supermarkets Decide Where to Open?

A funky, fresh look at how supermarkets work in urban neighborhoods

By CUP for Gilt Taste

Last year, we shared a fantastic video made by high school students on the food in convenience stores in their Bronx neighborhoods. Rather than take the tsk-tsk approach of many who write about the “food deserts” where low-income people can’t find fresh, healthy produce, it was a balanced, smart, and fun look at the issue, one that saw the store owners as their neighbors.

In that same spirit, we’re happy to share a peek at Funky Fresh another project by another group of students. Both of these projects (and many more!) were produced in collaboration with CUP, a nonprofit organization that uses design and art to improve public participation in shaping the places where we all live. Check them out. – Ed.

Who decides where supermarkets go? Are there enough supermarkets in the Bronx? Why does it matter? For Funky Fresha group of public high school students worked with teaching artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, to took a look at who gets supermarkets, who doesn’t, and why.

To find answers, the students got out of the classroom and into the frozen food aisles. They 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, they interviewed the CEO of Western Beef supermarkets; a supermarket site analyst; the Department of City Planning; a Bronx Community Board member; organizers; and public health experts.

Afterwards, the group designed a booklet to teach others what’s funky and what’s fresh about Bronx supermarket access. Here are a few pages of their work. For the rest, check it out here.