Mobile Solutions to Improve Nutrition in Food Deserts
The term ‘food desert’ refers to areas where residents lack adequate access to affordable and nutritious food due to distance and/or lack of access to transportation in their communities. In order to increase access to healthy food choices for SNAP recipients, there has been a recent trend in utilizing mobile programs for this purpose. These mobile programs innovate the way in which SNAP recipients can access healthy foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, and help combat the problem of scarcity of these products within food deserts.
Successful Mobile Programs to Combat Healthy Food Scarcity in Food Deserts
Niagara Falls, NY: Grow on the Go uses abandoned shopping carts as gardens to increase access to fruits and vegetables among individuals without garden space or who live in rented homes. Grow on the Go is targeted towards SNAP recipients, and individuals can get connected to shopping carts at a locally hosted “Cart Clinic.”
Milwaukee County, WI: Fresh Picks Mobile Market is a grocery store on wheels that travels throughout Milwaukee County to reach residents who do not have adequate access to affordable nutritional food. The mobile market includes more than forty types of fruits and vegetables and more than ten meat and dairy items.
Baltimore, MD: Baltimarket includes a virtual supermarket program that permits individuals to order groceries online and pick them up at accessible locations in their community. Individuals can use EBT benefits in SNAP to purchase their groceries, and they receive a $10 bonus to spend on healthy foods after placing their first order as well as on six holidays throughout the year.