This summer will bring a new way to shop for groceries to several Lexington neighborhoods where finding fresh food is challenging, Mayor Linda Gorton announced today.
The Mobile Market will be a rolling food oasis that will serve areas in Lexington without a grocery nearby, Gorton said. It will be a place anyone can purchase fresh produce and staples.
“This is a way to address insufficient nutrition, improve general health, and address childhood obesity,” Gorton said. Creation of a Mobile Market follows up on one of the recommendations of the Mayor’s Commission for Racial Justice and Equality, which noted that most African Americans in Lexington live in census tracts where there are not nearby grocery stores. Many of the people living in these areas cannot afford transportation to take them to the store.
Tiffany Brown, the City’s Equity and Implementation Officer, turned the Commission’s recommendation into a truck and trailer and worked out hundreds of details to put the Mobile Market on the road.
“Food insecurity requires a multi-prong approach - it takes all of us, every organization, every community leader, working together,” Brown said. “The introduction of our Mobile Market represents a significant step forward in enhancing convenience, accessibility, and sustainability in the realm of grocery access, and making Lexington a more equitable city leveraging resources and partnerships, like the one we’ve forged to make this a success,” Brown said.
Two partners are involved in the Mobile Market. It will be stocked by The Kroger Co., and operated by God’s Pantry.
“The City is providing the truck and trailer. It’s essential to have grocers and experts in food marketing and distribution to operate the vehicle,” Gorton said. “Thank you to The Kroger Company and God’s Pantry for coming on board as partners.”
Jake Cannon, Kroger Louisville Division president, said, “At Kroger, we know that we have a social responsibility to the Lexington community to provide fresh food conveniently. We’re proud of our partnership with God’s Pantry Food Bank and the City of Lexington on our second-of-its-kind innovative single-aisle grocery store on wheels providing fresh ingredients in areas where a storefront cannot reach. We’re here for every customer, every time.” Kroger also partners with the mobile Dare to Care market in Louisville, one of the models for the Mobile Market.
Michael Halligan, CEO of God’s Pantry Food Bank, said, “Many neighbors with limited transportation access struggle to purchase nutritious food. The Mayor’s Commission on Racial Justice and Equality clearly established several neighborhoods across Lexington where there are no nearby grocery stores. We are honored to be working together with community partners and Kroger to help plan and schedule more than 20 stops for the new Mobile Market.”
The Mobile Market is a 60-foot trailer. It houses a single aisle stocked with a healthy selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk (dairy and nondairy options), chicken, beef, pork, deli meat, cheese, yogurt, and a limited amount of household products, such as toilet tissue, detergents, and other cleaning products.
The mobile market will operate on a cashless system - no cash will be accepted or stored within the Mobile Market. Customers will pay by debit card, credit card, or SNAP/EBT.
During the first three months of the project – between July and September – the Mobile Market will make about 20 different stops in areas that are walkable for area residents. During this pilot period, the City will study routes, inventory, public awareness opportunities, and identify problems.