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New Electronic Kiosks To Provide Fresh, Healthy, Local Foods To Tallahassee's Downtown And Underserved Neighborhoods

Tom Flanigan
The first of what Impact Foods CEO Sha'Ron James says will be dozens of kiosks all over the city.

The innovative devices can even provide their locations and current inventory of items via smartphone.

Electronic vending machines full of healthy, locally-sourced food will soon be fixtures in downtown Tallahassee and beyond. Instead of salty snacks and sugary drinks, Jana Williams with the Apalachee Regional Planning Council said the units contain fresh wraps and other wholesome foods and beverages.

"They're all fresh and they're healthy. I would say 80% are sourced from local businesses here in town."

The first machine is inside the doorway of downtown's Tallahassee Community College Center for Innovation where Scott Balog is the executive director.

"By bringing this kiosk into our center, we're bringing affordable fresh food into the downtown area that supports our tenants and anyone in the immediate vicinity," Balog said, noting that there are potentially close to 25,000 state workers and other potential customers within a radium of a few blocks.

Sha'Ron James is the CEO of Impact Foods, which will eventually locate the machines in food desert neighborhoods all over town, as well as the city center. She said those outlying units will be specially equipped beyond what the manufacturers intended.

"To make it available to accept SNAP and EBT. This was something that was not an original part of their business model and thanks to our innovation and advocacy, we hope to see that within the next few months."

James is also soliciting more local food and beverage producers to add their products to the machines' inventories.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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