An Orange Oasis in an
Urban Food Desert

For the past year BrightSide Produce, an innovative social entrepreneurship, has been selling fresh fruits and vegetables to corner stores in the underserved neighborhoods of North Minneapolis. Despite having received many accolades the organization needed to refine its message to attract more robust funding.

The BrightSide model, which teams community youth with university students to sell wholesale produce to stores is unique in its approach but challenging to explain succinctly in an elevator pitch. Everyone cares about food issues but few in the target audience had firsthand knowledge about what daily life is like inside a food desert.

Telling the story from the point of view of one of the young residents made the issue of food insecurity relatable. Residents of these neighborhoods suffer from higher rates of premature death, obesity and type 2 diabetes; clearly relating how the ever-increasing medical costs associated with the treatment of these diseases will effect the economic future for everyone brought home just how relevant and immediate this issue is. We received partial funding, invitations to present the idea in other forums and currently a scale-up is in development.

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