Promoting nutrition in underserved communities

Whole Foods on Broad Street New Orleans

Whole Foods Market at the ReFresh site on Broad Street
joins Circle Food Store as New Orleans’ newest stores to
open with the goal of providing more healthy food options.

(Photo by Naomi King Englar)

The Whole Cities Foundation recently announced and created with $1 million in seed money from Whole Foods Market to promote nutrition and health education in underserved communities, starting in New Orleans. The foundation will work with the Tulane Prevention Research Center and other partners of the newly built ReFresh site on Broad Street — home to the city’s newest Whole Foods Market — to develop and evaluate a community health outreach program.

“By collaborating with, supporting and learning from our dedicated community partners, Whole Cities Foundation hopes to develop models for community health outreach that we can share with other cities,” said foundation executive director Meredith Smith.

The nonprofit Broad Community Connections developed the ReFresh Project, a fresh food hub on Broad Street whose partners are committed to providing education and job training around health and wellness of the surrounding communities.

In addition to Whole Foods, which opened Tuesday (Feb. 4), the ReFresh building will include Liberty’s Kitchen cafe, the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine of Tulane University, a community room, gardens and nonprofit offices, including FirstLine Schools.

Whole Foods joins Circle Food Store as New Orleans’ newest stores to open with the goal of providing more healthy food options. Both stores are in neighborhoods that had lacked adequate food access, and both received a $1 million loan from the city’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, a program developed on recommendations from the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee.

The recent grocery openings began with the historic Circle Food Store reopening on Jan. 17 after an $8 million renovation of the store that closed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. First opened in 1938, it is the city’s first African American owned and operated grocery store. Dozens of residents and city officials gathered outside the store on St. Bernard Avenue for the reopening.

To see videos from both grocery store openings, visit the Tulane PRC YouTube channel.


Naomi King Englar is the communications and training coordinator for the Prevention Research Center and the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Program at Tulane University.


February 6, 2014
Naomi King Englar




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