Starting today, a new way to shop for groceries will begin rolling into several Lexington neighborhoods where finding fresh food is challenging, Mayor Linda Gorton said.
The Mobile Market is a rolling food oasis that will serve areas in Lexington without a grocery store 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.
The Mobile Market will make about 60 stops each month, Tuesday through Saturday. A calendar is available online so residents can plan their shopping.
Tiffany Brown, the City’s Equity and Implementation Officer, worked out hundreds of details to put the Mobile Market on the road.
“Improve food access and healthy food options” was a recommendation from the Health Disparities committee in the 2020 Racial Justice and Equality Report to the administration, Brown said. “Today we are doing just that! The Lexington Mobile Market not only improves food access by being a mobile point of sale for fresh produce and other staples, but it also helps aid in improving health outcomes not only for disparate communities, but for all of Lexington,” she said.
In making its recommendation to create a Mobile Market, the Mayor’s Commission for Racial Justice and Equality 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.
Two partners are involved in the Mobile Market. It will be stocked by The Kroger Co., and operated by God’s Pantry Food Bank.
“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.”
Jessica Sharp, Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager, said, “we’re honored to hit the road with the Lexington Mobile Market and provide access to friendly service and fresh food at the affordable prices that Kroger is known for. We’re grateful for the partnership with Lexington and God’s Pantry Food Bank, and look forward to healthy outcomes for those served.”
Mike Halligan, CEO of God’s Pantry Food Bank, said, “The Mobile Market is set to bring nutritious, affordable food directly to underserved neighborhoods in Lexington, reflecting our commitment to tackling food insecurity, food justice for all, and our vision of a nourished life for every Kentuckian. We are grateful to Kroger and to the City of Lexington for this collaboration, which aims to make a positive impact on food accessibility, and we're honored to contribute to building healthier, more resilient communities.”
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.