GOODLETTSVILLE, Tennessee — During the second week of February, the U.S. Conference of Mayors highlighted the partnership between the City of Baton Rouge and the Dollar General as a positive example of how to increase fresh produce and access to healthier food in low-income communities.
The 2020 Best Practices Report, which is an annual analysis produced by the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Business Council, showcased innovative public-private partnerships designed to address challenges facing communities across the country. It featured Dollar General’s partnership with Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome as one such example, pointing to the collaborative effort to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to two stores.
Mayor Broome said of the partnership, “Here in Baton Rouge, we are firm believers in the power of public-private partnerships. These collaborations allow our municipal government to work businesses and non-profits to address the needs of our residents.”
She continued, “Our HealthyBR team is looking forward to working with Dollar General to advance the Geaux Get Healthy Initiative. Our community is thankful to have partners like Dollar General, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, and the American Heart Association as we work to address food insecurity in East Baton Rouge Parish.”
In its partnership role alongside the City of Baton Rouge, Dollar General remodeled two Capital area stores to provide local communities that were once viewed as ‘food deserts’ with healthier food options. This gave locals access to fresh fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, apples, strawberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemons, limes, salad mixes, and more. The produce set offers the top 20 items typically sold in traditional grocery stores and covers approximately 80% of produce categories most grocery stores carry.
The report went on to detail how Dollar General was able to also partner with the American Heart Association and a local hospital to provide “Simple Cooking with Heart” classes, which shows residents how to make affordable, heart-healthy meals with fresh produce available at Dollar General.
The “2020 Best Practices” report can be accessed on the U.S. Conference of Mayors website here (Dollar General is featured on page 22).