Rolling out a new kind of farmers’ market
A Kansas city program aimed at making fresh produce cheaper and more accessible has now launched a mobile market.
The Beans and Greens mobile market is like a grocery store on wheels.
“We can park this thing anywhere in Kansas City and serve people,” said Eugene Brown, the market’s manager.
Brown said between now and November, the refrigerated truck — filled with local vegetables, meat, and eggs — will be jumping between at least three designated spots in so called food deserts, or places where the nearest grocery store is two or more miles away. That includes the Marlborough and Argentine neighborhoods, as well as here on the Westside, where the market had its kick-off May 7 in the parking lot of the Guadalupe Center.
Mary Ellen Aguirre, 72, was there buying some onions, chorizo, cilantro, tomatoes and potatoes. She lives nearby and said it’s hard to find local produce.
“Todo esto es natural y nutritivo [Everything here is natural and nutritious],” she said.
The mobile market is part of the non-profit Beans and Greens program, which allows people to use food stamps at select farmers’ markets and then get matched up to $30 a week in purchases.
Now in its second year, the program has doubled the number of participating farmers’ markets from seven to 14, according to Gayla Brockman, with the Menorah Legacy Foundation. Brockman is leading Beans and Greens and said food stamp sales at area farmers’ markets went from $7,200 the year before to nearly $100,000 in 2010.
Several groups, including the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, Catholic Charities, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (which supports health reporting on KCUR), and the Kansas Department of Health are funding the program.