KCUR News
12:06 pm
Mon May 9, 2011

Farmer's Market on Wheels Rolls Out

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A local program aimed at making fresh produce cheaper and more accessible has now launched a mobile market.

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Think of the Beans and Greens mobile market as a grocery store on wheels:

"We can park this thing anywhere in Kansas City and serve people," says Eugene Brown, the market's manager.

Brown says between now and November, the refrigerated truck - filled with local vegetables, meat, and eggs - will be jumping between at least three designated spots in so called food deserts, or places where the nearest grocery store is about two miles away. That includes the Marlborough and Argentine neighborhoods, as well as here on the Westside, where the market had its kicked-off this weekend in the parking lot of the Guadalupe Center.

"73 cents makes 15 and 5 makes 20. Appreciate you coming down," Brown says to 72-year-old Mary Ellen Aguirre, who's buying some onions, chorizo, cilantro, tomatoes and potatoes at the market.

Aguirre lives nearby and says it's hard to find local produce. She's excited about the new market.

"Todo esto es natural y nutritivo [Everything here is natural and nutritious]," she says.

The mobile market is part of the non-profit Beans and Greens program, which allows people to use food stamps at select farmers' markets and then get matched up to $30 a week in purchases.

Now in its second year, the program has doubled the number of participating farmers' markets from 7 to 14, according to Gayla Brockman with the Menorah Legacy Foundation. Brockman is leading Beans and Greens and says food stamp sales at area farmers' markets went up a lot last year as a result of the new program, going from $7200 the year before to nearly $100,000 in 2010.

Several groups, including the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, Catholic Charities, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (which supports health reporting on KCUR), and the Kansas Department of Health are funding the program.

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