Free produce truck rolls out a lean, green mission

A new nonprofit project is taking to Contra Costa’s streets, and it’s on a mission to get you to eat your greens, dammit.

Somewhere between a food truck and the ice cream man lies Fresh Approach and their mobile farmers market that will bring free produce to low-income areas.

Recently awarded a grant of $89,496 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Concord-based nonprofit will begin delivering local fruits and veggies to “food deserts” where residents are further than a mile from a supermarket.

The two-year pilot program is anticipated to roll out in April and hit neighborhoods in Brentwood, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond and San Pablo.

Katie Gronsky, community outreach coordinator at Fresh Approach, told the Contra Costa Times the service will continue until October and return annually if the program is successful.

Allen Moy, the executive director of Fresh Approach stated in a press release he expects the program will benefit residents and also our state economy:

“We are confident that the mobile farmers market will not only help families to better meet their food needs, but will also help to sustain California farmers, keeping those food dollars circulating within our state economy.”

The mobile produce truck is just the latest program at Fresh Approach, which already includes efforts like Veggie Rx, a project that gives low-income families in weight management and diabetes clinics “prescription” vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets.

In 2009, the USDA created a map showing the nation’s food deserts, and found about 23.5 million Americans live in food deserts — including 6.5 million children. Last year, San Francisco was named one of “America’s Worst 9 Urban Food Deserts” for the lack of grocery stores in Bayview, Hunters Point and Visitation Valley.