Food access on wheels
What do you do when your neighborhood grocery closes, leaving thousands of people without an accessible alternative? When a Linden grocery closed last year, Local Matters realized we couldn’t wait for another grocery to move in.
Food access has always been a part of Local Matters’ mission, taking various forms through the years. This summer, though, our food access work has taken a new form – it’s on wheels.
The Local Matters team, led by Community Food Access Coordinator Monique McCoy, has officially launched Veggie Van: "Veggie Van is a way for us to get good quality, fresh, whole foods into communities that don't have a grocery store or access to good quality fresh foods - the whole foods that are lacking in the American diet," shares Monique.
During Veggie Van’s launch in July, Monique took some time to reflect on it all. "The soft launch at Trio [Pharmacy] was really exciting...for [this work] to come to fruition was pretty emotional for me."
For Monique, Veggie Van brings food education and access full circle in her community. During Veggie Van’s first stop at Trio Pharmacy, she ran into two previous Food Matters students, who came by with their grandmother. In meeting Monique, the grandmother was able to connect a face to the many lessons about MyPlate and healthy food her grandchildren brought home during their time in Food Matters. The two women connected over their shared experiences and stories, building a trust that is so essential in our work.
Later on, Monique met another neighbor: "A lady came to tell me about how the [cooking demonstration] samples were so good and how she was going to come back for groceries. When she came back, I learned she was the owner of the building that Trio Pharmacy is in. . . She could see how [Veggie Van and Local Matters’ work] could really impact the community."
It takes support from the whole community for a new program to take-off in the way Veggie Van has done. We thank you for your dedication to food access work in Columbus and hope to see you at a Veggie Van stop soon!