In 2018, the Capital Area Food Bank conducted a survey of 2,000 people that we serve across the region. We asked how they preferred to get their food, and the results were clear. Ninety percent of those who replied were interested in purchasing groceries and prepared meals for themselves if they were offered at affordable prices and within easy walking distance of home, work, or school. The people we spoke with also wanted a shopping option that would provide a full market basket of food, and be available throughout the year as opposed to seasonally. It’s from these conversations that the idea for Curbside Groceries – the Food Store That Comes To You – was formed.
In DC’s Ward 8, many of our neighbors face barriers to transportation and access to affordable, healthy food. We set out to find a solution – meeting with community partners, discussing options with local leaders, and brainstorming internally how to leverage our unique resources. Here, we determined, the addition of a mobile retail grocery option could help remove these transportation barriers, create access to healthy food, and enable healthier diets for all residents in the Ward.
We took a data-driven approach, using information about food insecurity and food access, as well as information about transportation and proximity to schools and apartment buildings, to identify the neighborhoods that would most benefit from Curbside Groceries. We also consulted with community and area partners who are currently active in the area, including Arcadia, which delivers produce in Ward 8, to ensure Curbside Groceries would meet people where they are and where they need it.
Presented by a coalition of partners including the Capital Area Food Bank, Giant Food, J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, and the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, Curbside Groceries delivers a full market basket of goods and groceries year-round. Through Curbside Groceries, we aim to encourage entrepreneurship in the Ward 8 retail space by collecting and sharing data to prove the value of alternative-format grocery stores.
After a brief trial period in early 2020, Curbside Groceries went on brief hiatus during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In November 2020, Curbside Groceries will officially launch with multiple safety protocols and procedures in place to protect customers and staff. In 2021, the Curbside Groceries route will expand to serve communities in Prince George’s County, MD.