Certain areas of the Twin Cities are about to have much easier access to fresh food. The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation is sponsoring a new grocery-store-on-wheels program called Twin Cities Mobile Market.
The foundation recently procured an old Metro Transit bus, which it will convert for use as a mobile market, bringing fresh food and produce to underserved areas of the Twin Cities. According to the foundation's website, the mobile market "fills a gap between food shelves and full-service supermarkets by providing a wide selection of fresh foods at below-market prices."
The market hopes to cover many Twin Cities "food deserts," geographic areas in which residents don't have ready access to fresh, healthy food.
Often, food deserts lack a major grocery store or market in the immediate area and instead tend to have smaller convenience stores that carry very few fresh, unprocessed food items. Food deserts also tend to be in areas with lower average incomes where residents often rely on public transit as a primary means of transportation.
"Many Twin Cities residents live in neighborhoods with limited access to affordable, healthy food. Residents in these neighborhoods face higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, and other negative health impacts," the foundation explains. "Because access to healthy food is a key factor to neighborhood well-being, Wilder is implementing the Twin Cities Mobile Market as an innovative approach to improving community health."
Similar programs have been launched in Chicago, D.C., New York, Boston, and other major metropolitan areas, and many of these operations rely on donations or grant funding. The Twin Cities Mobile Market is still in the fundraising stage and is actively seeking volunteers to help launch the program. The foundation has several informational events set up over the coming weeks to help build community engagement. To find out more about the events or to volunteer, visit wilderfoundation.org.