Food co-op launches mobile health food market

Published: Friday, June 11 2010 11:22 p.m. MDT

Produce at the Community Food Co-op's Mobile Market.

Sarah A. Miller, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Eating healthy can sometimes be a more expensive proposition than choosing less nourishing food sources. But there is a mobile oasis coming to Utah's "food desert" that will offer healthier choices to people in the Salt Lake Valley.

The Community Food Co-op of Utah is launching a new concept called the Mobile Market — a store on wheels that comes to areas where fresh produce and healthful food choices are limited.

Traditionally, the co-op food buying program was a once-a-month event where customers would pre-order and pre-pay two weeks in advance, and the food was distributed throughout the community by volunteers, according to mobile market coordinator Trevor Bruhn.

"(Customers pay) prices that are 30 to 50 percent below retail cost," he said.

The Mobile Market made its first stop in the parking lot of Rowland Hall's McCarthey Campus on Friday.

The program will make its stops monthly through November at various locations around the valley and could be expanded if demand dictates, Katherine Ghiai, volunteer coordinator, told the Deseret News.

Bruhn said the idea for the Mobile Market was born out of Crossroads Urban Center's highly successful food pantry and Community Food Co-op, where families could get nutritious food items at an affordable cost.

"What we're doing is taking the same kind of savings and we're going to put the food on a truck and go out to community locations to do a market sale — similar to a farmer's market," he explained. "We're going to do fresh fruit and vegetables … and we'll have frozen meat items and a selection of add-ons."

The add-ons would include items from local vendors such as nuts, dried fruits, sausages and tamales, though availability will vary from sale to sale, he noted.

"We're doing out best to try to support the local economy," Bruhn said.

For more information

Visit foodco-op.net/ or call the Community Food Co-op of Utah at 801-746-7878.

e-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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