NACS Works to Grow Healthy Lifestyles

NACS joined health, community groups at invite-only produce summit.

June 20, 2024

“Collaboration is the new currency,” said Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), at the inaugural Produce For All Leadership Summit, an invitation-only event co-hosted by the Partnership for A Healthier America (PHA) and IFPA’s Foundation for Fresh Produce.

NACS joined attendees from Feeding America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Rockefeller Foundation, FMI and the National Grocers Association, among others, to share ideas and resources to help increase produce consumption across the United States.

Calling the June 10 event a “pep talk” to spur collaboration and innovation, PHA President and CEO Noreen Springstead said, “Food is a driver to good health.”

For more than a decade, NACS has worked with PHA and IFPA to provide the industry’s voice and guidance on topics like food and health. For its work, NACS was named PHA’s Partner of the Year in 2019.

Chief among the ideas covered in the day-long summit was how the public and private sectors can collaborate to enhance affordable access to fruits and vegetables at grocery stores, convenience stores, corner stores and bodegas, dollar stores, restaurants and other places where people shop for food.

A key initiative of focus was the Good Food Cities program, which has a goal to increase produce consumption in 15 major markets, including Indianapolis and Denver, by 2030.

The Good Food Cities playbook includes policies and programs that increase access and consumption of fruit and vegetables. PHA is also launching public awareness campaigns to help drive demand for fruits and vegetables and educate consumers about food’s impact on health.

In addition to Good Food Cities, PHA is also focused on providing more access to fruits and vegetables by building a healthy food system in the Mississippi Delta. The group is working alongside J’s Grocery, a 3,500-square-foot store in Clarksdale, Mississippi, to make building enhancements and purchase equipment that will help the retailer offer more fresh produce.

“J’s Grocery sits at the center of an important community in Clarksdale. We’re honored to be working together with the store’s owner, Al Jones, and his family to create a space that invites families to experience fresh, healthy and affordable food that isn’t available elsewhere in the area. Businesses like J’s Grocery are critical to a just food system that helps people thrive,” said PHA’s Manager of Mississippi Delta Programs Tyler Yarbrough.

“By working with respected groups like PHA and IFPA, NACS showcases how local c-stores play an important role in serving as the core of their communities,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard, who attended the summit. “It is inspiring to see how many leading groups now look to NACS for insights on how to elevate communities.”

NACS retailer and supplier members interested in learning more about the Good Food Cities and Mississippi Delta programs are encouraged to contact Lenard at

For more information on how convenience stores can offer healthier choices, visit the Healthy Options page.