In L.A., we may be able to boast that we have the most -- and arguably the best -- fresh produce and food trucks in the country. But we all know that heirloom tomato and chef-blessed taco access is hardly equal.
Those "produce deserts" (low-income neighborhoods that are awash in fast food burgers but lacking markets with fresh produce) are exactly why Chicago native Steve Casey, a father of two who says he resides in one such peach-free neighborhood, set about five years ago to raise enough money to open a mobile non-profit produce bus to offer up groceries at affordable prices.
"The scent of fried food is so thick here, you can smell it with the windows closed," Casey told reporter Leslie Goldman in the September issue of Oprah Magazine.
Fast forward to earlier this summer, when Fresh Moves Mobile Market, essentially a produce aisle in a retrofitted Chicago Transit Authority bus (they bought the bus from the city for $1), finally debuted.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
If you can spare a few minutes -- tell your boss it's for a good cause -- watch the video above of the commuter bus being transformed into a mobile grocery store. It's long, or long in today's 30-second culture, but that last scene is pretty fantastic when a few kids admit that yeah, that apple really is the shizzle.
And while you're at it, maybe you know that perfect food activist type with the fundraising skills to unite all of L.A.'s profit-hungry food trucks on a noble, mobile grocery mission? It's a pretty brilliant idea, with or without the bus. Detroit launched a similar project a few years ago, only there it was a state-funded pilot program to encourage the launch of for-profit produce trucks (non-profit trucks like Peaches and Greens have been roaming Detroit's streets for two years).
If this town can host a corporate "taco" truck peddling jeans with a straight face, surely -- surely -- we can figure out how to launch a nonprofit mobile grocery store. A really big, farmers market-driven one, not the Salvation Army-type meal delivery trucks that already exist (though we think those are great, too). We'd be willing to bet our next Weiser Farms potatoes that there are some farmers out there who would jump at the idea.