Food bus will provide fresh produce to South Side residents

June 8, 2012

Quinn Ford

Residents on the South Side of Chicago could have a new place to go for fresh fruits and vegetables come the end of this summer.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday the city has donated an old CTA bus to the local non-profit organization Fresh Moves. Emanuel says the bus will be converted into a mobile fresh food market.

Emanuel said the buses are one way of addressing so-called "food deserts" in the city.

The bus is the second of its kind; the first bus runs on the West Side in the Lawndale and Austin neighborhoods. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA is providing $70,000 in funding for the bus.

Vilsack said there are rougly 23.5 million Americans who live in "food deserts," areas where there is no access to grocery stores with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. He said between 400,000 and 450,000 people in the Chicagoland live in areas designated as food deserts.

Emaunel said the Fresh Moves buses will help address that problem. He said the organization took the familiar model of an ice cream truck and "turned it upside down, right side up and made it part of healthy living.”

Emanuel also said those on food stamps would pay half price.

"You can't beat that deal," Emanuel said.