Mobile Food Market gets rolling (VIDEO 4:20)
A Halifax Transit bus is bringing fresh and affordable vegetables and fruits to five neighbourhoods in the Halifax region that have limited access to healthy food.
On May 14, the Mobile Food Market launched a 21-week pilot with deliveries of fresh produce to the communities of North Preston, East Preston, North End Halifax, Fairview, and Spryfield – communities selected because they have a higher proportion of people who often struggle with food access, including seniors, immigrants, single parents and low-income families. Another consideration was proximity and accessibility to a grocery store. The food is sold at prices comparable to discount grocery stores and it is delivered every two weeks via a Halifax Transit bus directly to these neighbourhoods.
The Mobile Food Market is a partnership between Partners for Care*, Public Health (Nova Scotia Health Authority), Halifax Regional Municipality, and the Ecology Action Centre, and is supported by local community organizations and businesses including United Way Halifax, Atlantic Superstore, and Elmridge Farm Ltd.
Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Medical Officer of Health with NSHA, says that the project reflects a shared commitment to addressing a serious public health issue.
“As many as one in seven households in Halifax either can’t afford or can’t access healthy food. Over the past year, the project partners and communities have been working together to find a solution. We’ve seen how mobile food markets have been successful in other cities, and we believe they could be part of the solution here too.”
Mayor Mike Savage says that the Mobile Food Market speaks to the municipality’s commitment to work with partners in finding solutions to public health challenges.
“I’m proud that Regional Council has enthusiastically agreed to be part of this exciting pilot project. When people think about health care, they often think about hospitals. But really, health care is about everything. Bringing fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables to parts of the city that otherwise don’t have access is a big part of building healthy communities.”
Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, a community leader, an Elder at the East Preston United Baptist Church (EPUBC), chair of the Local Host Team, and professor of social work at Dalhousie University, has been a champion of the project from the start. “The Mobile Food Market has the potential to make a real difference by giving people the ability to buy fresh produce in their community. This will help people to make healthy food choices, as produce will be affordable and accessible. The market is a real community affair with all of the local organizations helping to make it happen. People can shop for nutritious food, visit with their neighbours, get information on health and well-being, and maybe even try out a new food. The EPUBC is proud to be the host of the Mobile Food Market in East Preston.”
“As the largest retailer in Atlantic Canada, we have a commitment to the communities in which we operate,” says Mark Boudreau, Director of Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Atlantic. “We know that health and wellness is important and having access to fresh produce is inherently linked to a healthy lifestyle. We are thrilled to partner with the Mobile Food Market, and in the coming weeks, we hope that many communities in the Halifax area will benefit from some of our incredible selection of Nova Scotian grown products.”
The Mobile Food Market is modeled after similar projects in Ottawa and Toronto that have been extremely well received by the communities. The project will continue to work closely with community leaders and stakeholders to make sure it is meeting their needs.
Dates, times and locations for the Mobile Food Market:
East Preston Recreation Centre, 24 Brooks Road, 9:30-11:00 a.m.: May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 17, Oct.1
North Preston Community Centre, 33 Simmonds Road, 11:35 a.m.- 1:05 p.m.: May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 17, Oct.1
North End Halifax, Devonshire Arena, 3395 Devonshire Avenue, 9:30-11:00 a.m.: May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, Sept. 24
Fairview, Titus Park (Titus Street and Evans Avenue), 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, Sept. 24
Spryfield, Lions Rink, 111 Drysdale Road, 1:35-3:05 p.m.: May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, Sept. 24
The following community partners are providing leadership to the project in the pilot communities: East Preston United Baptist Church Health and Wellness Committee, Women with a Vision, Veith House, Fairview Community Association, and the YWCA of Halifax.
The Mobile Food Market was made possible through funding provided by the United Way Halifax, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Evergreen CityWorks and Doctors Nova Scotia.
*Partners for Care, the operational name for the QEII Health Sciences Centre Auxiliary, is an organization that supports patients through revenue generation and projects that improve community health.
Everton McLean, Senior Communications Advisor, NSHA
Cell: 902-478-8681; toll-free: 1-844-483-3344
Office of Mayor Mike Savage