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Converted Bus Brings Fresh, Healthy Groceries To Twin Cities Food Deserts: 'If Your Belly's Full, You're Happy'

MINNNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Twin Cities nonprofit is making healthy food more affordable and accessible for communities in need.

The Food Group has converted a Metro Transit bus into a mobile market that stops at 25 locations a month in the metro. Only the healthiest sections of a brick-and-mortar grocery store are represented on board.

Angel Maldonado with The Food Group pointed out some of the available items during a stop Wednesday near Portland and Franklin avenues in Minneapolis. The bus carried fruits, vegetables, bread, potatoes, dried goods and other healthy staples.

"It's really great and convenient," said shopper Gilbert Jordan. "It gets healthy food into neighborhoods that usually, you know, where people usually don't eat healthy. And it opens up a lot of different things as far as menu go for families that are less fortunate."

Twin Cities Mobile Food Market, The Food Group
(credit: CBS)

Sophia Lenarz-Coy, The Food Group's executive director, says their mission is to help families in neighborhoods that don't have convenient access to good, healthy food.

"When things like utilities go up or the cost of gas to get to work goes up, what most people end up doing is really cutting back on foods, and the most expensive foods tend to be the healthiest for us," Lenarz-Coy said.

The food that's offered varies based on where the market is stopping.

"We got the Somalian community, we got the Spanish community, we've got the American Indian community," Maldonado said. "If your belly's full, you're happy, and that's what we're trying to do."

Jordan was impressed with the low prices. He filled up his grocery bag for $21.

Equity is also a focus for The Food Group. Lenarz-Coy says under-investment in communities of color has helped lead to many of those neighborhoods having less access to quality food.

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