Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Lee Mannering
Fresh produce access gets a boost in Chicago
Recently I read an article from the Chicago Sun-Times which examined the partnership between the Chicago Transit Authority and Fresh Moves, a non-profit whose mission is to bring fruits and vegetables to Chicago’s South Side food deserts. (On a related food desert note, Philadelphia is planning to help turn corner stores into green grocers.)
Earlier this year, I wrote about the Fresh Moves bus (painted red with fresh fruit and vegetable designs) program. The bus contains shelves with built-in produce bins, with aisles wide enough for customers with wheelchairs to fit through to shop. Product assortment includes up to 30 to 40 different items, some local or organic, including different varieties of leafy greens, tomatoes, grapes, sweet potatoes and mangoes.
According to the Sun-Times, a second Fresh Moves bus will begin operating this fall – thanks to a $45,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The extra vehicle is expected to help Fresh Moves increase its customer base to 17,000. The Chicago Transit Authority is donating the second bus, as well as an unlimited supply of spare parts for repairs. Fresh Moves, which gets much of its food from local growers and distributors, also is using a state grant to offer shoppers who use food stamps via the LINK program a 50 percent discount on fresh produce.
Are there programs or stories like these (e.g. alternate distribution channels to increase produce sales and consumption) in your community? Is your business involved in supporting them? If so, visit the Increasing Consumption Community on PMA Xchange and tell your story there.