Birmingham, AL (2010)

Client: Main Street Birmingham

“PPS has given Main Street Birmingham, the City of Birmingham and our many partners an excellent tool which we will use to establish a network of ‘public spaces’ that can become catalysts for further economic opportunity and where residents can work, play and access healthy foods in a safe friendly environment.”
–Samuel Crawford, Main Street Birmingham

stakeholder meeting in Birmingham, AL

Challenge

Because many of Birmingham’s residents have limited access to healthy food, the prevalence of diet-related disease among lower-income individuals has steadily increased.  In 2010, Project for Public Spaces was hired to make a number of recommendations that now position the city to improve food access and set a new, healthier precedent for the future of Birmingham.

This market in Birmingham could be expanded under PPS' plan.

Process/Solutions
To address the issues of accessibility, PPS proposed the implementation of Healthy Food Hubs throughout Birmingham.  Food Hubs are places where patrons can not only purchase quality, affordable food, but can also attend cooking and nutrition classes, congregate and socialize with others, and receive health care, among other activities.  PPS used feedback from residents to propose community garden-based farmers markets and the expansion and integration of the peddler and farm stand systems into retail and civic areas.

A PPS Diagram of the Proposed Healthy Food Hub

Outcomes

PPS has provided Main Street Birmingham with a comprehensive plan and they are starting pilot projects to strengthen local market activities and establish Healthy Food Hubs. In summer 2011, Main Street Birmingham started a pilot program to get local produce into the City’s corner stores and they are currently working with local community organizations in several neighborhoods to help them start farmers markets. The Birmingham News reports on the early successes of this program at City Meats & Vegetables in Woodlawn.

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