Mobile grocery store bringing fresh produce to residents
A mobile grocery store is bringing fresh produce to residents in eight communities.
MarketMobile offers fresh fruits and vegetables to shoppers at a discount of about 40 per cent. The mobile grocery store can offer these discounts because it buys food in bulk and at whole sale prices.
"I think people find it convenient to have fresh produce delivered directly to their neighbourhood," said Isabel Williams, the interim project manager.
MarketMobile started in 2014 as a pilot project with the help of Ottawa Public Health. At first it was run out of an OC Transpo bus, but a recent grant allowed the non-profit to purchase a pick-up truck and a trailr. Now the refrigerated truck visits 8 communities over a two week period, doing thousands of transactions every year.
"The goal is to provide fresh and affordable produce that is culturally appropriate," said Williams.
About 30 different items are available for purchase and each community is offered a slightly different variety to choose from.
Rudy Jones visits the MarketMobile almost every time it rolls into Vars.
"We live about 10-15 minutes away from a grocery store, well an inexpensive one," Jones said. "So it's nice to have a convenient service that is close to home. We can bike over and buy our groceries for the weekend."
Recent estimates suggest about one in three low-income households in Ottawa cannot afford quality food. An estimated 8 per cent of all Ottawa households are said to experience food insecurity, meaning they are unable to regularly buy fresh, healthy food because of financial constraints.
"It's a really important project to be able to offer," said Williams.
MarketMobile was started by several Ottawa community health groups and is able to continue operating because of grants from Ottawa Public Health, and the Community Foundation of Ottawa among other places. Some of those grants are about to expire meaning the MarketMobile must re-apply if it wants to continue operating.