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Farmer's market on wheels delivers fresh, local produce to 'food deserts'

Arcadia's Mobile Market is on a mission to bring quality food to underserved communities.

WASHINGTON — Once a week, communities that struggle to find healthy, fresh food get it delivered -- via a farmer's market on wheels.

Arcadia's Mobile Market sells everything from broccoli to turmeric root to people who live in "food deserts."

"We are specifically focused on meeting the unmet demand that is in many parts of our city, especially in wards 7 and 8 and other areas in D.C. , coined 'food deserts,' but in areas where it’s hard to get fresh, quality food,"  Erin Close, the director of Arcadia's Mobile Markets, said.

Every week, the teams set up shop in 10 different locations throughout the city that represent areas in need of quality produce.

Close said most of the food they sell comes from a farm in Alexandria, Virginia.

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The key to their market is affordability.

Close said anyone using SNAP, EBT, and WIC benefits to purchase food gets double for the price.

For people on a fixed income, like Donna Warren-McClain, those savings can make a huge difference.

"I couldn't get all of this for $12 at the Giant!" she said, pointing to her bags full of fruit, vegetables, and catfish.

Credit: Jess Arnold
Donna Warren-McClain buys groceries Friday at the Arcadia Mobile Market.

Close said the Mobile Market's sales make up 26% of all SNAP and EBT sales at farmer's markets in the region.

But, they only comprise about 1% of total sales.

To her, that says they're reaching their target market.

 "There are so many systemic barriers that so many of the customers that we work with face and being able to have quality food for yourself and your families is kind of the baseline for having a healthy life," Close said.

The market runs from May through November 15.

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