Bringing healthy food to all consumers

Press the play button to see how UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health professor Alice Ammerman is working to provide locally-sourced, nutritious meals to communities in need.

The Good Bowls project, created by Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Alice Ammerman, aims to provide better access to nutritionally valuable food for lower-income consumers and create economic opportunities for local farmers and food entrepreneurs.

The business model focuses on reducing food waste, increasing accessibility and bringing benefits to the farmers whose crops serve as ingredients in the meals.

By pricing Good Bowls higher in more affluent retail outlets like Weaver Street Market, Ammerman hopes to sell the product for a food-stamp-accessible price at lower-income centers in food deserts like convenience stores and corner shops. The product launched in June, with tasting events and placement across the Triangle.

So far, Ammerman and her team have worked closely with organizations like Working Landscapes, a nonprofit group dedicated to building more sustainable livelihoods in the areas surrounding Warren County, North Carolina, to help distribute Good Bowls and get the word out about the project.

Throughout her career, Ammerman has a demonstrated knack for bridging gaps. Whether it’s between healthcare providers and recipients, farmers and customers, or public health officials and clinicians, she always manages to find a way to connect groups in pursuit of mutual understanding. Her personal approach has proved time and time again to be the key to her success, and will no doubt be a continued theme in her years to come.

“People often assume researchers are just coming to tell them what to do, rather than work with them,” Ammerman said. “But public health doesn’t work that way. People need a chance to provide input. It’s really important to start with the community, to ask for their perspective, and to see what their priorities are. In the long run, working that way makes for a much better and more productive partnership.”

Read more about Ammerman’s four decades of public health research on Endeavors’ website.