Arcadia's mobile market not only sells fresh produce, but also protein such as meat and eggs; perishable food is refrigerated and stored on the bus, while the produce is set out under a small tent, adjacent to the bus. The mobile market serves low-income neighborhoods and food deserts, in which Northeast is located. To encourage participation, SNAP, WIC and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits are doubled in value when used at the mobile market. When paying with vouchers, the total cost is cut in half.
Word is still getting around about the Friday market, but many of the visitors on a recent sunny Friday said they will definitely support the mobile market now they know to expect it in the Providence Hospital parking lot from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Fridays. An informal poll of patrons found that two thirds were first time visitors to the market; some patients and some hospital staff. "I come out every couple of Fridays. It's very convenient," commented one hospital staffer.
"As the season has progressed, we've seen more staff, but a lot of the patients have senior vouchers, so it's definitely a mix. I like that we reach out and make an effort to the people who have a hard time, giving them access to all these fruits and vegetables that we grow ourselves. People are very appreciative and that leaves me feeling good," explained Janet, one of the two Arcadians staffing the Providence location.
"With Arcadia establishing the business environment, UDC will seek to establish a long term, permanent presence," explained Dr. Dwane Jones, director, CAUSES Center for Sustainable Development. The funding source for this project is the USDA ‘Two Food Deserts’ grant, initially under the authority of Dr. Calvin Lewis.
Visit arcadiafood.org/programs/mobile-market for more information on the Arcadia Mobile Market.