Next stop, the food desert: Fresh produce gets on the bus
The payoff scene in this video about a new mobile produce stand on Chicago’s West Side comes about nine minutes in. A young boy is urged to eat an apple by the women staffing the Fresh Moves bus, which just launched with the mission of bringing fresh produce to an inner-city food desert.
The boy acts as if he has never bitten into an apple before. Never even really touched one, maybe. The apple actually seems to make him nervous. But finally he does it, and the women cheer him on.
If you had any question that we need creative solutions to get healthy food to people in American cities, watch this. The problem is all too real.
Here’s how the people behind Fresh Moves describe their mission:
After reading a 2006 report that mapped food deserts in Chicago, a group of community activists banded together to work on a solution. …
But this was not an easy problem to solve. The simple fact was that opening a traditional market wouldn’t address the multi-neighborhood needs quickly or efficiently. National chains have difficulty finding large parcels of affordable urban land to support their high costs of operation. Independents can’t gamble on unproven locations, and ethnic markets are slow to grow. So despite high profit margins for fresh foods and substantial unmet demand, Food Desert Action had to think outside the big box.
So the group got a bus donated by the Chicago Transit Authority, remodeled the inside with the help of a group called Architecture for Humanity, and are now serving the Lawndale neighborhood with twice-weekly scheduled stops.
Who knows, att his point, whether this is a solution that can work in the long run or can be replicated. But the look on that boy’s face as he bites into that apple is proof that it has already been worth the effort.
Some local TV coverage of the project below.