This article was written by past Local Food Program Director, Steve Russell. Next time you go to the park or pick your kids up from school, keep an eye out for the Fresh Express produce bus! Through an exciting partnership between City of Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton, City of Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, and a handful of community organizations and local business, the coming months will see a great mobile infusion of fresh, healthy produce!
The Discovery Triangle is a metro region that is an officially-designated USDA Food Desert: an area with minimal access to real, healthy food. The Discovery Triangle gets its name from the three landmarks that approximate its borders: Papago Park and ASU main campus in Tempe, and the light rail curve in Downtown Phoenix. In this region of the valley, whose residents rely heavily on public transportation, many residents’ nearest options for sustenance are small corner stores and fast food joints—which brings to mind the great Michael Pollan idiom: “Don’t get your food the same place your car does!"
The organizers for this venture have the goal in mind of addressing USDA Food Deserts by creating a “vehicle” (pun intended) to address food access by delivering fresh produce to an area that’s lacking. The bus—Phoenix’s first grocery store on wheels—will address food access issues by creating “…a very tangible, relatable product for the general public,” that meets people where they are!
This city needs to be healthier and we need good food to be more accessible, especially in our low-income communities. Local First applauds all of the entities that came together to make this initiative happen, especially our community partners and business members: Discovery Triangle, Valley Metro Light Rail, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Phoenix IDA and Eeko Studio.
For more info, check out this video about the bus: