Mobile market increases access to affordable produce in inner city

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A produce market on four wheels is increasing access to healthy food in inner-city neighborhoods. The bus carrying fresh fruits and veggies started making stops in December in a number of Hartford neighborhoods. It’s all about access and affordability.

You can’t miss the bright green bus parked in the heart of the Frog Hollow neighborhood. Inside the Hartford Mobile Market, fresh fruit and vegetables, priced affordably for shoppers.

“The neighborhoods we are targeting don’t have easy access to supermarkets or major grocery stores, and the neighborhoods we’ve targeted in the city happen to be the poorest neighborhoods in the city,” said Martha Page, Executive Director of Hartford Food Systems.

It makes two stops a week throughout the city, filled mostly with seasonal Connecticut and regionally grown produce.

Yvette Colon looks forward to shopping there.  

“You can use food stamps and cash,” said Colon. She says if the bus didn’t stop in her neighborhood, she wouldn’t be able to get this kind of food at a low price.

Marely Matanzo loaded up on oranges. 

“For six oranges for the price I bought it, I wouldn’t have gotten it at the grocery store,” said Matanzo.

It’s helping her save for other life necessities.

“Like more like bills, or the rent, or something, so it actually helps, but a lot better,” said Matanzo.

Affordability and access are not the only reasons people like Mariana Evica buy from the bus.

“This a very deliberate act,” said Evica. “I’m deciding to support something local, real, and sustainable, instead of something that is trucked hundreds of miles.”

A driving force for this produce on wheels is The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

“Hartford is one of the communities that is at greatest risk of being food insecure, and the foundation really felt it was an important investment for the community here,” said Laura Smith.

The mobile market is also a joint project of Hartford Food Systems and the Hispanic Health Council. For more information on where and when it stops, click here.

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