Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday took another crack at launching a produce bus project that aims to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to parts of Chicago that lack them after a similar city-backed initiative failed two years ago.
Standing on the grounds of an old Bridgeport trucking depot that has been converted into an urban agriculture farm, Emanuel re-upped one of the aspects of his effort to decrease the city’s so-called food deserts.
“That used to be a book mobile,” said Emanuel, pointing his thumb toward the bus as an artist spray-painted trees on the bright vehicle. “Now that bus has been rehabbed to serve and make sure communities that do not presently have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at a store, doesn’t mean they don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood, in their community.”…
As with the previous Fresh Moves model, Emanuel contributed an old city bus to the initiative. Previously, he sold retired CTA buses to Food Desert Action for a dollar. This time, he contributed a bus from the Chicago Public Library, but the city also is chipping in up to $110,000 in fuel and maintenance costs for the program in its first year.
“I’m betting on Erika. I’m serious about that,” Emanuel said. “At a certain point, you bet on the entrepreneur, and the other model was run by a foundation and was done different. I think Erika’s business model, her determination and her leadership is a significant difference that will go from what didn’t work to what will be a success that will be copied.”
The Fresh Moves Mobile Market will operate year-round, Tuesday through Sunday. The first bus will start out by stopping at 13 locations on the South and West Sides with a goal of expanding to 22 stops per week. The schedule can be found at http://www.growingpower.org under “News.”
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