The Healthy Community Store Initiative addresses barriers along the food supply chain and provides solutions from the farm, to distribution, to retail access and finally food reclamation.
HCSI, Inc. was formed in 2010 by Steven Eberle, Scott Smith and Katie Plohocky to address the food desert problem in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Each brought a different perspective and expertise to the issue. Horticulture, community gardening, nutrition and cooking demonstrations, retail operations, policy advocacy, and community projects. The Healthy Community Store Initiative intends to integrate programing and solutions from farm to landfill, to rebuild the bridges linking the distribution points of our local food system. Today, we have six programs built on that integration piloting viable solutions and working with partners to create economic opportunities in vulnerable communities.
“A happy and healthy community is not a fairytale. All you need is a seed.”
— NADIA Shabaz
Our first project was a mobile grocery store, a nine horse-horse trailer built out into a one aisle, full service grocery store. R&G Family Grocers was designed to address food access by residents living in food deserts. Providing healthy choices was our number one priority. Building partnerships with local farmers to harvest seconds and produce that hadn't sold was our solution to keeping fresh produce on the store at an affordable price. Seeing the amount of produce that was going to waste in the field, we began taking volunteers to the farm with us and taking the excess to the Food Bank, providing to partner agencies to give away, and preserving for future use. Hands 2 Harvest was born. We also started R&G Family Farm to provide verticle integration of supply to the mobile store and control some of our supply. Cooking For Health was created to focus on the food preservation, prepared meals, nutrition education and healthy catering using the excess food recovered. To learn more about all our programs, visit Our Projects.
To enhance the health of Oklahomans by providing access to quality, fresh food through healthy community stores, nutrition education, economic opportunities and community revitalization.
The number of weekly stops R&G Family Grocers provides to serve those we are unable to get to groceries.
The amount of food reclamation in 2015 that was provided to feed people, animals and the soil.
The number of community members reached through community dinners, cooking demonstrations, and neighborhoods events in 2015.
Providing over $19,000 in Double Up Food Bucks in 2015, we have seen a significant improvement in mental and physical health for all participating community members. With access to fresh fruits and vegetables, many of our customers have reported they have been taken off medication for preventable diseases. Kathy Barnes is one such customer. Her critical numbers improved dramatically and her doctor asked her what she had been doing different. She told him she had access to fresh, affordable produce because R&G Family Grocers came to her each week. He took her off her blood pressure medicine and her cholesterol medicine.