FreshFinder is an interactive map developed by the PRCHN, with the goal of assisting local health professionals (i.e., dietitians, social workers (SW), community health workers (CHW)) better guide their Cleveland-based patients and clients in finding fresh and healthy foods in their neighborhoods and across the city.  The FreshFinder map can also help health professionals better understand the challenges their clients face in adopting a healthier diet.  The data that feeds the map is derived from the annual food retail data collection conducted each summer by the PRCHN, as well as data from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, OSU Extension, and the RTA.

The map uses a store classification system developed by the PRCHN, based on the availability of over 25 food items, with a specific interest in foods supported by nutrition assistance programs (e.g., WIC, SNAP).  It also provides locations of fast food, take-out, and restaurants, allowing the professionals to identify locations to healthier food options but also to better understand the challenges when a client lives in a “food swamp”. Tapping on a location brings up a list of the type of foods each store carries (i.e., milk, fresh F&V, beans, eggs) and whether it accepts SNAP/WIC.  

Store Classifications

The PRCHN store classification system is hierarchical with supermarkets representing the greatest variety of healthy lifestyle foods and corner/convenience stores selling at least one food item, but very few staple food options.  A store is classified as the highest-ranking type it meets the minimum qualifications for and is re-assessed each year based on the most current inventory audit. The table below displays the combinations of food items required for each store type.  For more details on the methodology, icons and items that are used, please read the Food Retail Store Classification Report.

In addition to the Supermarkets, Large and Small Grocery Stores, and Corner/ Convenience Stores, FreshFinder also includes the following:

Farmers Markets and Farm Stands: location where local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and often meat, cheese, and bakery products directly to consumers. Most of these locations accept both SNAP and WIC FPNP.
Food Pantries: these locations host either a mobile or permanent food pantry, with food supplied by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Fast food or take out: a retailer where prepared foods are sold and customers must pay before eating. Includes stores like donut shops, candy stores, coffee shops, etc.
Dine-in Restaurants: a retailer that sells prepared foods, has a wait staff, and customers pay for their food after eating.

FreshFinder Features

  • Locations of supermarkets, large and small groceries, corner and convenience stores, farmers’ markets, food pantries (mobile and permanent), fast food outlets and restaurants across the city of Cleveland.
  • Locations of large chain supermarkets/wholesale clubs, large grocery stores, and specialty stores (e.g., butcher, ethnic foods) in the suburbs surrounding the city of Cleveland.
  • Click on a store location and find detailed information on that location (Cleveland stores only):
      • Store address
      • Whether the store accepts SNAP or WIC benefits
      • Does the store carry infant formula?
      • Does the store have an in-store bakery?
      • Are prepared foods sold?
      • Does the store carry each of the following food items: raw meat, eggs, milk, whole wheat bread, healthy cereals, beans, and a variety of fresh, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables.
  • Use the “Near Me” function to provide a detailed map and/or listing of all food retail within a set distance (e.g., within a half-mile, mile, etc) from an address.
  • Ability to print out directions (by walking, bus/train, or car) from home to a specific store.
  • Can provide client-specific bus stop and route information to any location, with embedded links to RTA for up-to-date route changes/schedules.
  • Built-in links to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for up-to-date food pantry open days and hours.

Instructional Video

PRCHN Team & Project Partners


Elaine Borawski, PhD, Principal Investigator
Matthew Kucmanic, MPH
Benjamin Gorham, PhD, Freeedman Center 
Marie Belzile-Davidson, MS
Rachel Gardenhire, MS
Laura Fernandez, MPH
Erika Trapl, PhD

Community Partners

Greater Cleveland Food Bank

OSU Extension Cuyahoga County

Future Work

We are working with the CWRU Department of Nutrition to develop healthy and affordable recipes and menus built on items that can be purchased in each type of store: supermarket, large grocery, small grocery, and corner/convenience store.


For more information about FreshFinder, please contact Dr. Borawski at or Laura Fernandez at

The development of FreshFinder was funded through the CWRU Freedman Fellowship Digital Scholars Grant, the CWRU Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, and the Angela Bowen Williamson Endowment.