3/01/2016

Pop-up farm stands at bus stops are pure brilliance


Making fresh produce conveniently available to people in food deserts is an idea whose time has thankfully come.

In Grand Central Terminal there is a fancy food market where commuters can grab fresh groceries before hopping on the train back to the suburbs. It is the model of convenience and one that could be adapted to commuters of all stripes, not just those needing fresh delicacies on the way back to Westchester County.

Which is why the new mini-trend of bus-stop farmer’s markets is so great.

In forlorn neighborhoods of towns like Dayton, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky, farmer’s markets are popping up around transit centers to make fresh produce not only available where it once wasn’t, but convenient as well. While many of us have the luxury of local farmer’s markets and supermarkets with loads of produce options, “food deserts” – under-served neighborhoods with little or no access to fresh food – are a serious problem in this country.

As Brian Barth writes on Modern Farmer:

“Food deserts” – low-income neighborhoods with plenty of quickie marts and liquor stores, but lacking full service grocery stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables—are an epidemic in American cities, affecting 23.5 million people. The USDA has several ways of defining food deserts, but the common denominator is that most residents in these neighborhoods lack a car to go buy food in other neighborhoods that have legitimate grocery stores. In other words, food desert residents are reliant on public transportation, which is difficult to navigate with a family’s worth of grocery bags in hand, so they make do with what’s available at the corner store....more