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. The corner store deliver service that we offer is nationally distinctive — we are unaware of any other organization that helps corner stores stock affordable fresh produce this way. We have been delivering to corner stores in Minneapolis for over 6 years, and currently serve ~35 stores.
Part of what makes BrightSide unique is our self-sustaining economic model. We offer weekly Home Deliveries of fresh produce (organic or conventional options) to households that pay a "food justice surcharge." The profits that come from these Home Deliveries allow us pay our community youth employees a fair wage and maintain our operations. These Home Deliveries are currently offered throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.
We strive to create an equitable local food system where everyone has access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2020, we began offering a Pay What You Can home delivery option throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Recipients pay whatever they can afford each week, and donors fill in the gaps with weekly contributions. We also partner with multiple organizations to provide free fruits and vegetables through food bank events and home deliveries.
In the past, we have also operated 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 difference 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.