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Veg Out in Food Deserts

Veg Out in Food Deserts

Can you travel to a grocery store without a pilgrimage? If so, count yourself lucky. Many people can’t, for lots of reasons. But what if the farmers’ market came to you?

BY M. BRIANNA STALLINGS

Can you travel to a grocery store or farmers’ market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables without undertaking a pilgrimage? If so, count yourself lucky. Many people can’t, for lots of reasons, including mobility issues, a lack of affordable food and the absence of stores.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, around 23.5 million American households without access to a vehicle live over a mile from the nearest supermarket. Ironically, because they have less money, the poor spend up to 37 percent more on groceries. An Albuquerque resident might spend $55 on food, while someone living on the Pueblos may spend $85 on the same basket of groceries.

But what if the farmers’ market came to you? That’s the mission of New Mexico’s MoGro, LLC. Mobile grocery stores have already been serving isolated communities internationally for about five years. MoGro is just one of them.

Founded in 2011 by former Sysco Foods CEO Rick Schnieders and his wife Beth, MoGro began by physically driving a 50-foot-long, temperature-controlled truck to the Pueblos and other rural communities; that operation proved cost-prohibitive and organizationally daunting.

Shortly after MoGro ownership and management transferred to the Santa Fe Community Foundation, MoGro and SFCF changed their organizational model and launched the MoGro Food Club. With this club, people place online or in-person orders for organic, reduced-price deliveries of Skarsgard Farms produce and other groceries.

These orders, which include nutritional information and recipe suggestions, are then available at community pick-up sites or by delivery. MoGro Food Club boxes are $20 at the regular rate and $10 for food stamp recipients.
For more information on MoGro, call 216-8611 or visit mogro.net

M. Brianna Stallings is a staff writer for ABQ Free Press. Email her at brianna@ freeabq.com

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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