Fresh Moves project to bring fresh food to neighborhoods

(WMC-TV) - The Fresh Moves Bus is an innovative new way to bring fresh produce to neighborhoods that do not have access to all the foods they needs.

Vance Avenue Collective, an effort to improve living conditions in the South Memphis area, is making sure residents get fresh produce with the help of a retired MATA bus that will transform into a farmers market.

"We're a food desert," said University of Memphis Dean of Urban Studies Dr. Ken Reardon.  "We have no full service food store in the neighborhood."

Thursday morning, members of Vance Avenue Collaborative spoke to Action News 5 about their newest effort to improve living conditions in the area.

"One of the first issues that came out of this planning process was the lack of fresh food and the lack of accessibility to fresh foods," said City of Memphis Grants Coordinator Felicia Harris.

Reardon explained how the Fresh Moves Bus works.

"They took out the seats, they put in food racks and they went neighborhood to neighborhood in areas that are under-served by supermarkets to provide high quality, fresh, affordable and culturally appropriate food," said Reardon.

Reardon said that although there are a countless number of convenience stores on Vance Avenue, they do not offer food with nutritional value the way the Fresh Moves Bus will provide.

With a unanimous vote, MATA board members voted to support the Fresh Moves project.  With a lease of just one dollar a year, they will provide a retired bus to the program.

"In this case, one of those buses will be leased to this organization for this wonderful effort that they're doing for our community," said MATA Director of Marketing Alison Burton.

"That's what it's all about," said Reardon.  "It's about removing the barriers that people have to healthy foods."

The Fresh Moves Bus is set to begin services in June of 2012.  Reardon said they hope to utilize local farmers to supply the fresh produce to communities like Vance Avenue.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.