A lack of grocery stores which carry healthy food in lower income neighborhoods in Central Ohio increases the risk of obesity and diet-related diseases for neighborhood residents. And no wonder—with fresh food far away and often out of price range, it's easier to rely on the low-cost, low-nutrition foods around you.
For the past 4 years, our Veggie Van program addressed the critical issues of community food sovereignty and affordability of fresh, healthful foods in many Columbus neighborhoods without access to grocers and other sources of fresh food. The Veggie Vans delivered low-cost, pre-packed bags of “the good stuff”—fresh fruits and vegetables, organic and local whenever possible—to partner sites in these neighborhoods.
Beginning in 2013, and in keeping with our desire to support our community partners who are developing their own solutions to creating access to affordable, healthful foods, Local Matters will no longer offer the services of the Veggie Van. Instead, we will suggest that all partners who are interested in access to bags of affordable fruits and vegetables patronize the Near East Side Cooperative Market (NESCM).
NESCM is a community owned, cooperative market that will open its doors in March of 2013. As a part of its services (available now), NESCM offers the Fresh Bag program to partner sites in the Near East Side Community and surrounding communities.
Fresh Bags are available in two (2) sizes: a $15 option and a $25 option. Community members have the option of using SNAP/EBT benefits to purchase the bag in addition to cash and credit cards.
This program will function very similarly to the Veggie Van program but with proceeds going to support NESCM.
For more information, please call 614-636-3726.
What's the difference between Fresh Bags and Greener Grocer Market Bags?
NESCM will focus its delivery on partner sites in neighborhoods which lack access to fresh foods. Fresh Bags are intended to provide basic kitchen staples for cooking throughout the week. Fresh Bags are part of NESCM’s effort to address healthy food access and community food sovereignty and is supported by Local Matters as one of our partner projects.
The Greener Grocer Market Bag is a third-party CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) style subscription program through our partner, The Greener Grocer. Rather than providing healthy kitchen staples, the Greener Grocer Market Bags are a great way to explore a wide range of produce and artisanal goods from Ohio farmers and food producers. Priced slightly higher than Fresh Bags, the Market Bag comes in two different sizes and is part of a partnership between Local Matters and The Greener Grocer to support Ohio farmers and strengthen our local food economy. Individuals can subscribe to the Market Bag at TheGreenerGrocer.com.
Interested in becoming a NESCM partner site, or want to learn more about ordering Fresh Bags? Email email@example.com