Food deserts are certain areas of the country where fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables are unavailable because of a lack of food providers such as farmer’s markets or grocery stores. Most areas are found to be impoverished neighborhoods with many families having a low income, leaving them sometimes unable to pay for fresh food to eat and cook at home. Chicago is one of those cities where food deserts thrive. Now that isn’t such a good thing. This means that there are less fresh food provided and more processed, sugary, fast food available for these families to eat and live on.
Two years ago, in an attempt to response to this situation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel created a program which makes food markets becoming mobile with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables to communities more prone into becoming food deserts. Using and remodeling two old CTA buses, “Fresh Moves” was on the move. A year and a half later, instead of moving around the city, the two buses were permanently established and settled, under management of Food Desert Action, losing almost $240,000 on produce sales within the 2011-2012 year.
With another attempt at this program, Fresh Moves is now under management with Growing Power Chicago with a $100,000 federal grant to launch the program. Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization that helps provide safe and healthy food for people in all communities, hoping that families would help create a big change in what they eat and put in their bodies. In Chicago, Growing Power helps assist in small farm projects in the Chicago area. Urban farming is super cool right? With this new partnership and the innovation of urban farming, the cost for transportation of fresh food especially from farms outside of the city limits would be cut down tremendously. Growing power will now be growing fresh produce locally in ten southern and western Chicago neighborhoods. With the help of Growing Power, the hope to reach out, the hope to educate, and the hope to provide to the many impoverished communities are the future of what Fresh Moves can be.
Looking to help out? Growing Power would love it for you to help by donating or volunteering in their Chicago locations. Visit their website at http://www.growingpower.org/ for more information.