Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-28-2021


Individuals living in underserved neighborhoods face significant barriers to getting fresh produce. It has been extensively researched that providing individuals with fresh fruits and vegetables can have a positive physical and mental impact on the lives of individuals in underserved neighborhoods and the lives of their families. Unfortunately, individuals who reside in such neighborhoods are often viewed as not being motivated to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, even where barriers to eating such foods are removed. This study aims to determine whether, in the COVID-19 era, individuals in underserved neighborhoods would consume fresh fruits if presented with them in an appealing and consistent manner. To test the hypothesis that individuals in such high-need neighborhoods would consume fresh fruits during COVID-19 if readily and consistently available, clementine fruits in the quantity of 50 per day were placed in a stand in a corner store in the New Brighton neighborhood of Staten Island. The results show a discernible response on the part of the corner store customers and supported the hypothesis that individuals if given the chance, these individuals would consume fresh fruits distributed and available in a consistent manner. While further research needs to be done, especially with respect to responses from store owners, variety of fruits consumers will eat, and overall buy-in for such programs from consumers, community members and local non-profits, the results of this study demonstrated that consumers in underserved neighborhoods would consume a variety of fruits and vegetables from a corner store the COVID-19 era.


“The Clementine Collective”: A Corner Store intervention of clementine fruits in a high need neighborhood in Staten Island, New York.


Heather M. Butts, JD, MPH, MA; Susan Fowler; Sarah Blas; Jen Gallo, MPH; Diane Painter Velletri; Daphne L. DeRose, MPH; Hedda Nguyen, MPH; Chariz Seijo, MPH; Nadia Tabatabaeepour, MPH.

Key words: Food security, COVID-19, food desert, health disparities, underserved population, health equity.

Author Affiliations: Heather M. Butts, JD, MPH, MA, Long Island University Health and Human Services Department and the Honors College; Susan Fowler, Independent Consultant; Sarah Blas, Staten Island Therapeutic Garden and Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness; Jen Gallo, MPH, Staten Island Therapeutic Garden; Diane Painter Velletri, Design Diseno, New York; Daphne L. DeRose, MPH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Hedda Nguyen, MPH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Chariz Seijo, MPH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Nadia Tabatabaeepour, MPH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.