Public Health — (336) 703-3100
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Forsyth County Healthy Communities

Healthy Communities Network

The first focus of the Healthy Communities program is improving food security in food deserts. There are 21 food deserts in Winston-Salem and the city is ranked seventh on a national list for food hardship. The program has enacted the statewide initiative called The Healthy Food Retail Designation. This initiative focuses on small corner and convenience stores located in food deserts. In order to become a certified Healthy Store, the store must participate in SNAP/EBT and WIC and carry a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, protein, and water. Once the store passes inspection, it receives a certificate from the program that they can display beside the register. They will also be advertised on a statewide website here. The program has certified four stores in Forsyth County and hopes to certify three more in September. The certified stores are Amelia Mart (2325 New Walkertown Road Winston-Salem, NC 27101), Los Primos Meat Market (640 E Monmouth Street Winston-Salem, NC 27107), El Jacal II (155 Jonestown Road Winston-Salem, NC 27104), and Tienda Latina Los Juanes (373 Jonestown Road Winston-Salem, NC 27104).

Healthy Communities has further worked on this initiative by starting a community garden program called Take What You Need. The program currently has two garden beds at Simon's Community Garden at the Enterprise Center on South MLK in East Winston-Salem. So far, over 40 pounds of produce has been grown and donated to the above small stores. The stores distribute the free produce to customers, typically by displaying the produce in a basket beside the cash register. Some storeowners have started moving their own produce from the shelves into the free basket. This free produce allows people to try new vegetables at no cost. The program has a goal of donating 300 pounds of produce to the stores by Spring 2025. Vegetables currently grown in the garden include tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and cucumber but Healthy Communities hopes to expand to greens, onions, potatoes, broccoli, and more.

Map of NC Certified Healthy Stores

The second focus of Healthy Communities is encouraging the selection of healthy food items in food pantries. This objective is being met by the design and installation of signs throughout the pantry. The posters present various information including how to read nutrition labels, what key words to look for on canned goods, and more. The program has also created several healthy, easy-to-follow recipes that uses items often found in a food pantry. Some of the recipes include homemade salsa, steamed broccoli, and baked sweet potato fries. The program hopes to collaborate with a Community Nutritionist and host a food demonstration at the pantries this fall. The ingredients will be commonly found at food pantries and will be cooked in front of participants. Samples will be distributed as well as a recipe card so the participants can try and make the recipe at home. The food pantries working with Healthy Communities include the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission (718 N Trade Street Winston-Salem, NC 27101) and Crisis Control Ministry (200 10th Street East Winston-Salem, NC 27101).

For questions or comments, please email Katie Johnson at

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799 North Highland Avenue
Winston Salem, NC 27101
Phone: 336-703-3100
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741 North Highland Avenue
Winston Salem, NC 27101
Phone: 336-703-3800
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Winston Salem, NC 27101
Phone: 336-776-3255

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Winston Salem, NC 27105
Phone: 336-703-2480

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