Fresh Food On Wheels, Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
By Smita Shresta, Common Ground ’10, Albertus Magnus ’14

The mobile market visits residents at The Ribicoff Center

Residents were gathered outside the Ribicoff housing complex, surrounding the mobile market. The neighbors lined up for fresh greens and fruits, trading recipes and telling stories of favorite childhood foods as they waited. The mobile market brought something different to this neighborhood this Wednesday. Ribicoff is a mixed neighborhood, with seniors and people with disabilities living together. Ms. Esther Pearson is the president of Tenant Resident Council. She stated that, “the majority of the people living here have to rely on their children and grandchildren for transportation.” They need additional help and have to travel further down to get their vegetables and fruits. “So, it’s a great service for the seniors.”

The CGHS circle of innovation keeps rolling. Starting this week, Common Ground-grown produce is travelling via a mobile market to communities that don’t have access to freshly grown food. This mobile market is the result of CGHS partnership with CitySeed. It has been to West River and NewHallville neighborhoods, and went to its first week at Ribicoff housing complex this past Wednesday. This first week has set high expectations for next week’s market. “I am coming early to get my fruits next week!” a resident commented as they left the market.

A huge smile spreads across Ms. Pearson’s face as she talks about preparing the corn she just bought. “My grandma used to grow corn, cut it out at the cob, cook it and fry it. That’s why I got it today.” Common Ground’s association with this place goes a long way back. Ms. Pearson fondly remembers Farmer Joe from Common Ground coming in with his truck. He used to bring vegetables for the neighborhood free of cost, and she would distribute them.

This was an opportunity to provide fresh produce to a place that normally wouldn’t get that choice. And looking at the results, it’s clear that this neighborhood enjoys fresh food. Jeff Poch, the manager of the mobile market agrees. “I’d say it’s been a successful market.” Peaches, plums, green beans were sold out within the first hour. “The word-of-mouth has been strong and we also have the flyers.” So, next week’s market will definitely have new customers and more buzz.