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California Retailers Reach Out

The Network for a Healthy California has a ready-made goal this year as it embarks on its annual Fruit and Veggie Fest. The organization has even created a catchy little ditty to help lower-income families remember not to skimp on fresh produce purchases during the recession: Eat Right When Money’s Tight.

The month-long event, which kicks off May 2, is now in its third year, but the message in 2009 is all the more important because a) many people of all incomes are prone to cutting back on on more expensive fresh foods in favor of subsidized, couponed processed products and b) there are more families (and family diets) in economic danger in the state.

Supermarkets play an important role in the NHC’s Fruit and Veggie Fest. Organizers announced that this year’s program will be the first time it’s going statewide, with nearly a dozen supermarkets participating in all regions of the state:

Save Mart, Food Maxx, Grocery Outlet and Superior Warehouse Grocers are among those slated to host healthy cooking demonstrations, physical activity suggestions and shopping tips that have been “mom-tested” (their term, not mine).

NWC, created by the California Department of Public Health and the nonprofit Public Health Institute, backs up the effort by calling on parents to make sure their kids get enough exercise, eat healthy and to speak out on issues that can improve the community. Fortunately for them, proactive, engaged supermarkets are already part of the landscape.