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Twin Cities Farmers Market Goes Mobile

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Twin Cities has dozens of farmers markets, but now one market is going mobile.

Minneapolis City Council approved a measure to allow a mobile grocery store in the city, called the Twin Cities Mobile Market.

The Wilder Foundation project will convert an old Metro Transit Bus into a grocery store on wheels, bringing affordable, healthy food to under-resourced neighborhoods.

"Due to transportation or other barriers people can't always access healthy, affordable food and as a result go to convenience stores for processed, high calorie junk food," Leah Driscoll, Twin Cities Mobile Market program manager, said.

"I definitely think it's a good idea," Samm Elingson of Apple Valley said. "There is a lot of need all over the city, everybody's on the craze to get things local," she said.

The market will offer many locally grown foods below market prices. Several cities like New York, Chicago, and Nashville already have them. Local farmers market directors support the initiative, but hope the project doesn't spur a new industry of commercial mobile grocers that would hurt business.

"It's going to be a different avenue for people to get healthy food," Minneapolis Farmers Market assistant director Pat Nelson said.

Twin Cities Mobile Market officials say the city's regulations on the project should prevent any threat to local markets. Instead the focus is one of nutrition and social change to make an impact on health, education, and health care costs in the community.

"Health inequities are pretty predominant in low income neighborhoods so we're hoping to move the needle on some of those," Driscoll said.

Twin Cities Mobile Market will test out its first bus sometime this summer in East St. Paul. It will then expand into Minneapolis likely in the fall. The market will be open year-round.

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