‘Farmer’s market on wheels’ delivers to the inner city

Oct 5, 2011

“Veggie Mobile” will sell locally grown fruits and vegetables in Grand Rapids neighborhoods with limited access to grocery stores.

“This is awesome,” Governor Rick Snyder said while visiting the refrigerated truck’s first stop Wednesday night at New Hope Baptist Church - located in a low-income neighborhood on Grand Rapids’ southwest side. He praised the public-private partnership (and the W.K. Kellogg foundation for a $1.5 million grant) that made the “Veggie Mobile” possible.

“Because of this hard work we’re going to have healthier people right here in Grand Rapids, but I believe this has a strong opportunity to be a role model for healthy opportunities throughout all of Michigan.”

Alan Jones owns Greenrock Farm in Conklin, Michigan, about 20 miles northwest of Grand Rapids. He grows a cut flowers and a variety of vegetables and berries. He’s not big enough to sell to big distributors. He makes his money at farmer’s markets and now the Veggie Mobile too.

“It’s huge,” Jones said, “It’s good for me and good for the people they supply.”

Thelma Sims goes to New Hope Baptist Church. On Wednesday, she picked up peaches, onions, and a watermelon from the truck. Sims doesn’t really have a problem getting to a grocery store but she says the fruits and vegetables there usually aren’t very good. As a diabetic, she says she’s always trying to watch her weight.

Snyder says the Veggie Mobile fits perfectly into his plan to make people in Michigan healthier. 67-percent of people living in Michigan are overweight or obese. That’s the tenth worst ranking in the United States.

Governor Snyder says unhealthy lifestyles are making health care in Michigan more expensive. He wants the Legislature to pass a number of health care related bills - including some controversial health insurance mandates that are part of the new federal law - by Thanksgiving.