Access to healthy food for everyone in the Flint community – that’s what the Flint Fresh Mobile Market is all about, according to Erin Caudell, co-owner of The Local Grocer in Downtown Flint. The Mobile Market has been up and running since August 2016 and is a nonprofit organization, the result of a group effort to address the lack of healthy food in certain areas of Flint. It is a partnership of the YMCA, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Flint Farmers’ Market, Neighborhood Engagement Hub and The Local Grocer. “We received many grants that helped it come together,” Erin explains. “We were very lucky to get them!”
The purpose of the Mobile Market, according to its mission, is to foster health and wellness through fresh, local food and community outreach; make fresh and healthy food accessible and affordable for Flint residents, and to fill the gap in neighborhoods that lack access to healthy food. It is especially convenient for senior citizens, the homebound, and young moms who don’t have transportation. “It’s a way to bring healthy food to Flint residents who need it most,” Erin says.
A converted MTA bus, the Mobile Market goes to businesses, senior living facilities and community centers. The service will be expanding this month with the purchase of a new bus, which will open up with a window on the side, similar to a food truck.
“It’s a way to bring healthy food to Flint
residents who need it most.”
Produce sold at the Mobile Market is purchased from 20 local farms. It also offers a variety of healthy snacks, yogurt, eggs, milk and pre-made food items such as sandwiches and salads from The Local Grocer. “We hope to expand what we offer in the near future,” Erin says. Items can be purchased using EBT cards and Double Up Food Bucks, which makes it very convenient for low-income residents.
Veggie Boxes are also available at the Flint Fresh Mobile Market, but they must be ordered online or by phone (810.620.1902). “We deliver to anybody in the City of Flint at their home or work,” Erin says. If you are outside the city, boxes can be picked up at The Local Grocer. There are two sizes – one with two fruits and three veggies, and a larger one that contains four fruits and six veggies. There are also two other options: Farmers’ Choice and `a la carte, which lets you choose the produce variety you want. You can also add eggs or bread to any box for an additional fee. “A lot of senior citizens use this service,” Erin adds.
The Mobile Market locations change every week and a schedule is posted on the Flint Fresh Mobile Market Facebook page. The operation is run by five employees – a market manager, assistant manager, two business managers and an employee who packs and coordinates the Veggie Boxes. “Everyone on the team is a City of Flint resident,” Erin says. “We are so excited to have this opportunity to improve access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables for people who live in the City of Flint!”
Photography by Eric Dutro