Introducing “Freshmobile” – Serving Dane County’s Food Deserts

Fresh Madison Market, Meriter Health Services and Physicians Plus are proud to introduce “Freshmobile.” A mobile grocery store on wheels, the “Freshmobile” will be stocked with healthy food choices. It will travel throughout the Dane County area serving underprivileged neighborhoods that do not have access to fresh food or a supermarket within walking distance, also known as “food deserts.”

The 34 foot “Freshmobile” trailer will be set up like a mini grocery store. Shelves will be stocked with essential grocery fare including dairy, boxed items and a huge selection of fresh fruits and vegetables – over 200 items in all.

Bringing healthy food choices to lower income neighborhoods has been a goal of Fresh Madison Market’s store owner, Jeff Maurer, for some time. His work with the local Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Allied Neighborhood Association, highlighted the poor nutritional options in these neighborhoods. He saw kids coming into the club and devouring the fruit he would bring.

“I am involved in various organizations that help low-income neighborhoods in and around Madison.” Maurer said. “The thing that really concerns me is that there are a lot of fast food choices in these areas but really none that offer fresh produce and vegetables. I want to change that with the “Freshmobile” and bring healthy choices to these communities in a convenient and affordable way.”

Maurer began to research the concept of the “Freshmobile” by studying similar initiatives in various U.S. cities. He met with neighborhood leaders, the mayor’s office in Madison and leaders from the Dane County Executive office, where his idea was met with full support. He approached Meriter and Physicians Plus hoping for a partner on his endeavor. Both organizations have a demonstrated history of addressing health needs in the community and recognize that access to healthy food choices is a barrier to health for many in our area. Meriter and Physicians Plus have come on board as full-fledged partners.

Maurer is hoping that more businesses will help support the “Freshmobile” through monetary donations. Because this part of the company is set up as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations and grants are still being sought to help the “Freshmobile” come to fruition.

If the necessary funding can be secured, the trailer will be on the road in late February, 2012. Plans are to take the trailer to a minimum of four locations per week with more to follow.

A website will be operational soon at www.marketonwheels.com. You can also follow the Freshmobile on Facebook and Twitter.

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