Mayor Martin Walsh officiated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Daily Table location in Roxbury’s Dudley Square last Friday. The company’s second store will seek to build on the success of the original Daily Table in Codman Square.
“We’ve had a lot of success with the Dorchester location, so much so that people from around here would go all the way over there just for produce,” said Carolyn Luc, director of advancement at Daily Table. “Now they’ll have that right here.”
Daily Table is a not-for-profit business leading the charge for greater access to fresh, healthy, and affordable foods in Boston’s neighborhoods. Doug Rauch, its founder and president and former president of Trader Joe’s, described his vision for the business at a press conference preceding last week’s ceremony.
“Daily Table’s designed around tackling this issue of food insecurity and access to healthy, nutritious foods for all at any budget, and doing it in a manner where it’s at a dignified setting where people feel better after they’ve exchanged and interacted with you,” Rauch said. “This way people have a sense of agency, of coming and choosing and picking foods to provide for their families.”
As with the Dorchester location, the Roxbury store will stock recovered foods as a manner of offering affordable products while at the same time reducing food waste.
“The primary way we stock the store is through recovered foods, so we work with a lot of vendors who are going to essentially get rid of their food because it’s approaching the sell by date,” explained Luc. “So we’re able to work with them to get a lot of produce before it’s wasted and thrown away.”
All donated and purchased foods are held to nutritional standards, which means Daily Table will not carry certain unhealthy products such as sugary snacks and drinks.
“We offer voluntary nutritional guidelines, so that limits the amount of food that can be donated,” said Luc.
“When you come to Daily Table, you’ll find organic items, occasionally you’ll find items from Whole Foods, Organic Valley or Amazon Fresh, which is one of our big partners. It varies depending on the day, but we do have high quality items.”
Daily Table was one of the businesses chosen as a recipient of the state’s Massachusetts Food Venture Grant, which it used to help complete the final phase of construction.
In the press conference, Mayor Walsh extolled the opportunities that a new Daily Table location will provide.
“Food insecurity is a big issue,” he said. “It’s been a big issue in this particular neighborhood for a long time. Two out of every ten families in Boston are struggling for access to good, healthy food. Here, that will be available seven days a week.”
The mayor went on to explain how a pilot program in East Boston was showing the effects of nutrition on young people, in particular. “It’s showing that young people are learning better and are better prepared in class because they’re getting good healthy food. On top of that, Daily Table will be an important employment agency where a lot of young people get their start in business.”
Luc said the business would bring about fifteen new full and part-time jobs to the community, with an emphasis on hiring locally.
Daily Table will complement other local supermarkets like Tropical Foods on Melnea Cass Blvd. to provide another affordable option for Roxbury residents. “We see ourselves as part of the food shopping experience,” said Luc. “Our intent is not to be the sole place where you get all your groceries, but we’re gonna be where you can get your core items: your dairy, your meat, your bread, your eggs, and your produce.”
The Roxbury location is scheduled to officially open for business on Friday, January 26. Membership is free and open to all, and the store will accept cash, credit, EBT and SNAP.