Farm carts and small neighborhood grocery stores once brought produce into densely populated areas. Now liquor and convenience stores are the norms, carrying little more than highly processed snack foods and sugary drinks.
A result is a growing number of food deserts, or low-income areas located more than a mile away from the nearest grocery store, leaving residents with little or no fresh and healthy food options. The Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank is tackling this issue by creating the Harvest Market. A custom-made refrigerated mobile grocery store on wheels that brings fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy and other essentials to communities that would otherwise lack access to healthy foods.
The mission of the Harvest Market is to increase access to healthy food choices with an emphasis on reaching those least served in a food desert. The Market does this by operating regularly scheduled stops in low-income, food-insecure communities; offering high quality, locally grown, sustainably produced farm products; accepting food assistance benefits; credit and debit cards; and providing educational resources for how to prepare the market’s offerings in nutritious, cost-effective, delicious, and easy ways.
The Harvest Market is a direct service program of the Food Bank which supplements the need for healthy food options for seniors, children, and families in rural communities in NW Ohio. Currently, the Harvest Market regularly visits locations in Fulton, Henry and Williams Counties with plans to add additional sites in Defiance, Wood, Sandusky and Ottawa Counties.
The Harvest Market has a friendly team of staff and volunteers dedicated to assisting those shopping at the market. For questions or further information about the Harvest Market, please contact us at 419-242-5000.