Solving the Problem of Food Deserts

St. Paul Mobile Market

Leah Driscoll
by Leah Driscoll | Feb 21, 2013
| 2 Comments

Summary:

We would address the obesity crisis by launching a mobile market – a grocery store on wheels – that would sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods at or below market prices. The mobile market would focus on serving “food deserts” (areas without full-service grocery stores) and low-income communities where people have limited access to fresh produce and healthy food. There are several sections of St. Paul that are considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be food deserts, including much of the East Side where 47% of people are poor).

Without access to affordable, healthy food, people in these and other neighborhoods, especially if they are poor, eat cheaper high-calorie processed food and fast food. As a result, these communities have much higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

We propose using a social enterprise model to sell food at affordable prices versus giving it away. The mobile market would get its food at wholesale prices and sell to low-income residents without the high mark-ups of grocery stores. Food would be sourced from local farmers as much as possible.

We believe that to truly change people’s behavior, we have to change how they spend their money. These sales will provide a revenue source that will then go back into the mobile market to sustain its operations. To increase our sales, we will expand to more locations and add educational programming including meal kits with recipe cards and nutrition education. For an example of how this model can work, see www.freshmoves.org.

About You

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About You

First Name

Leah

Last Name

Driscoll

City

Saint Paul

County

Ramsey

Country

United States, MN

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Mike Driscoll

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Twitter

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Twin Cities Mobile Market

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Solving the Problem of Food Deserts: St. Paul Mobile Market

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

We would address the obesity crisis by launching a mobile market – a grocery store on wheels – that would sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods at or below market prices. The mobile market would focus on serving “food deserts” (areas without full-service grocery stores) and low-income communities where people have limited access to fresh produce and healthy food. There are several sections of St. Paul that are considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be food deserts, including much of the East Side where 47% of people are poor).
Without access to affordable, healthy food, people in these and other neighborhoods, especially if they are poor, eat cheaper high-calorie processed food and fast food. As a result, these communities have much higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
We propose using a social enterprise model to sell food at affordable prices versus giving it away. The mobile market would get its food at wholesale prices and sell to low-income residents without the high mark-ups of grocery stores. Food would be sourced from local farmers as much as possible.
We believe that to truly change people’s behavior, we have to change how they spend their money. These sales will provide a revenue source that will then go back into the mobile market to sustain its operations. To increase our sales, we will expand to more locations and add educational programming including meal kits with recipe cards and nutrition education. For an example of how this model can work, see www.freshmoves.org.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Imagine a bright and beautiful city bus that has been converted into a mini grocery store. It pulls up to a street corner in one of our city’s poorest neighborhoods and people flock to the bus to buy fruits, vegetables, and other grocery items at or below market prices. During the growing months, the bus is stocked with produce from local farmers, but it operates year-round so those without access to a store can count on buying their food at the mobile market. During the lunch hour, the mobile market parks downtown to serve those on their lunch breaks. The mobile market is an innovative, yet straightforward, model that has address gaps in food systems in other cities, but it hasn’t been done here. St. Paul now has this chance.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The St. Paul Mobile Market will make fresh, healthy food available to all – not just to those who happen to live near a supermarket. More importantly, we will change our food system to be more accessible, affordable, and equitable for thousands of city residents. And, we will be able to educate families on how to prepare and eat healthy meals while they are shopping for ingredients.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

People will recognize and remember our project when they see the big, beautiful mobile market driving and parked all over St. Paul. It will also be a great visual and service-oriented addition to community and city events. And, St. Paul has the opportunity to pioneer this model and then expand it to serve food deserts in Minneapolis and in other communities across Minnesota.

llhjl hlhj said: There are really lots of desserts around there and it has something to do with your healthy lifestyle. - Roger Stanton about this Competition Entry. - 263 days ago read more >
Leah Driscoll said: What are your ideas for the best locations for the mobile market to go on a weekly basis? Please send us your ideas! Leah about this Competition Entry. - 577 days ago read more >

Leah Driscoll updated this Competition Entry. - 577 days ago

Leah Driscoll updated this Competition Entry. - 617 days ago

Leah Driscoll submitted this idea. - 617 days ago