'Fresh Express' bus delivering fresh goods in 'food desert'Posted: Updated:
According to the USDA, almost 60 percent of people who live in Maricopa County do not have easy access to fresh and healthy foods.
Now, a local nonprofit is stepping in with a store on wheels that's bringing produce and veggies where they've never been before.
"We sat around tables and dreamed about this, and it's finally here," says Sara Dial with Discovery Triangle.
A donated and repurposed Valley Metro bus has been renamed the Fresh Express. Its purpose is to deliver food to a desert within the desert.
The area of East Phoenix where the bus is parked on this day is considered a "food desert," where people do not have easy access to fresh fruit, vegetables and produce.
"A lot of our kids shop at Circle K. They come in the next day, and say, 'Mom took me to Circle K, and I got a banana.' Like, they don't have the exposure to the produce," says Crockett Elementary School kindergarten teacher Rachel McDonald.
"I like the fruit, how it smells, the tastes you can see in there," says 11-year-old fifth-grader Marco Cazares.
Crockett Elementary is smack-dab in the middle of a metropolitan food desert.
Sandwiched in an area between downtown Phoenix, Papago Park and ASU in Tempe, people without their own means of transportation don't have easy access to a grocery store.
So they either shop at convenience stores or eat fast food.
"People will do whatever they can to feed their children. We're providing the opportunity for them to have healthy choices for their children," says Dr. Jeff Smith, Balsz School District superintendent.
Valley nonprofit Discovery Triangle is behind the Fresh Express. Peddlers Son produce provides the freshness at cost. Together with the Valley's Junior League, they're all spreading the word.
"About 700,000 people here in Arizona are having issues getting access to affordable quality fresh fruits and vegetables," said Maria Cody with the Junior League.
"A lot of people don't have cars to go to the store, so they come here and buy what they need," says mother Argelia Garcia.
For more on the Fresh Express, click here.
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