Fresh Madison Market, in partnership with Meriter Health Services and Physicians Plus, has revealed plans for its “Freshmobile,” a mobile grocery store on wheels that will be stocked with healthy food choices including fresh produce and other grocery items.
The Freshmobile will travel throughout the Dane County, Wis., area to serve neighborhoods that do not have access to fresh food or a supermarket within walking distance, also known as “food deserts.”
The inside of the 34-foot trailer will be set up like a mini grocery store. Shelves will be stocked with essential grocery fare including dairy and boxed grocery items and a huge selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, more than 200 items in all. Equipped with refrigeration to maintain proper temperatures regardless of weather, the trailer will also have an on-board generator and its own water supply.
Bringing healthy food choices to lower income neighborhoods has been a longtime goal of Jeff Maurer, owner of Madison, Wis.-based Fresh Madison Market. Maurer’s work with the local Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Allied Neighborhood Association, revealed to him the poor nutritional options in these neighborhoods. In response, Maurer began taking steps to help residents in these food deserts.
Earlier this year, the Public Health Madison and Dane County department recognized his efforts with a public health award. The Freshmobile seemed like the next step in helping these neighborhoods gain access to healthy food alternatives.
“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 studied similar initiatives in various U.S. cities and met with local leaders, who offered their full support. While partnered with Meriter and Physicians Plus, Maurer is hoping that more businesses will help support the Freshmobile through monetary donations.
If funding can be secured, the trailer will be on the road in late February, with plans to visit a minimum of four locations per week.