With childhood obesity so prevalent in the world now it was pleasant to read about Capital Roots, a Troy-based organization that helps underserved communities access fresh food, launches a new Smart Vending program at the Arbor Hill/West Hill libraries in Madison Iszler’s article “Kids can buy healthy snacks at two Albany County libraries” in the Times Union. With the growth of education about the importance of healthy eating habits being formed early its fantastic to see the trend spread.
“Kids can buy healthy snacks at two Albany County libraries”
by Madison Iszler
When children walk through the doors of the Albany Public Library’s Arbor Hill/West Hill and Howe branches after school, they’ll be able to purchase healthy snacks from new vending machines for under $3.
The machines are stocked with granola bars, packaged nuts, popcorn, chips, fruit juice and bottled water. A bag of Stacy’s Pita Chips or Pop Corners popcorn costs $1.50. Bottled water is $1. A fig bar from Nature’s Bakery costs $1.50.
Capital Roots, a Troy-based organization that helps under served communities access fresh food, launched its new Smart Vending program at the Arbor Hill/West Hill branch on Tuesday. Another vending machine will be installed at Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls later this week, and the nonprofit hopes to eventually place machines in at least 50 locations throughout the Capital Region.
“Wherever we can create a food access point, we want to do it,” said Rebekah Desjardins, Capital Roots’ healthy retail organizer who spearheaded the program. “Our main question was, ‘How can we bring the most nutrient-dense snacks to the community?’ Children need access to affordable, nutritious food, and statistics show people want healthier options. We want to help give people better choices.”
Albany City Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy praised the program on Tuesday.
“As we seek to ensure that there is access to healthy foods in our city, we can’t do it alone,” Sheehan said. “When you provide these types of options, particularly to kids, and these are the only options that they see, they will choose these options.”
Capital Roots selected the snacks for the machines and partnered with locally-owned family vending companies, including New Leaf Group and HealthyMe Living, to set them up. The organization provides vending machines for free to businesses and community groups interested in offering healthy snacks for the first time. Existing vending machines can be retooled to include the snacks.
The initiative is Capital Roots’ thirteenth program. Others include the Veggie Mobile, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, and Squash Hunger, a program that collects and distributes fresh produce to local food pantries and shelters.
Look forward to next time,
Craig Atkinson, Calgary, AB