Why the need for BrightSide?
Food insecurity is a major problem in many urban neighborhoods. Lower-income families often rely on small convenience stores as their primary source of groceries. But these corner stores tend to offer few, if any, fresh fruits and vegetables because they lack viable options for sourcing fresh produce. Store owners often buy produce at grocery stores, then resell it at higher prices. That takes time and money, and results in second-hand produce for sale at high prices in a challenging sales environment.
What we do
BrightSide Produce makes it easy for small stores to offer high-quality, low-cost fruits and vegetables to their customers. We buy bulk, wholesale produce and make weekly deliveries. We charge stores only 10% above wholesale costs and have no minimum order requirements. After store deliveries, we package the excess, unsold produce and sell it at a markup to our Buyers Club members. The profits that come from these Buyers Club sales allow us pay our community youth employees a fair wage and maintain our operations. This self-sustaining model is part of what makes BrightSide so unique. It has allowed us to deliver to over 20 stores each week for nearly 6 years.
Store deliveries are the backbone of BrightSide, but we also engage in other activities to improve access to healthy foods and awareness of food insecurity. We operate farm stands in underserved neighborhoods, provide fruit bowls on college campuses, and make donations of fresh produce to food shelves. BrightSide has also developed curriculum for college classes focused on social justice and resilient local food systems, and is involved in public health research.
Who we are
BrightSide is a 501(c)3 non-profit that aims to increase access to healthy foods in urban food deserts. BrightSide was founded in 2014 by Adam Pruitt and Deedee Fuller, two community youth who wanted to make a different in their community, and Adam Kay, Professor of Biology at the University of St. Thomas. BrightSide has run continually since then, with the support of many student volunteers, community youth employees, and a full-time staff member sponsored by the AmeriCorps Vista program.