The market provided more than 19 tons of fresh produce to more than 4,800 residents in 16 communities like the one served by Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church in south Fulton.
Dorothy Mants, senior ministry leader, helped county staffers provide fresh groceries on Wednesdays to residents who also took cooking and nutrition classes.
“It’s been great. We’ve been having from 60 to 70 people in attendance [each week],” she said last week. “They’re very happy about the produce because where I live, we don’t have a Kroger, we don’t have a Publix, we don’t have any large supermarket where they can get fresh vegetables and fruits.”
Those areas are called “food deserts,” according to a county board of commissioners’ proclamation kicking off the mobile market June 19.
During the presentation ceremony, Commissioner Joan Garner said she sought to make the term obsolete.
“You are helping us look at food equity in all of our communities,” she said to representatives of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, one of the market’s partners.
Susan Varlamoff, director of the UGA college of agricultural and environmental sciences, said the market is part of a trend.
“There’s a strong movement in urban areas, especially Atlanta, to bring fresh food to underserved communities that don’t have supermarkets,” she said in June. “We’re doing our part to contribute to this movement.”
Palmetto Neighborhood Senior Center Manager Patty Willey said for her consumers, many of whom are on fixed incomes, the mobile market is succeeding.
“This is the best program,” she said in June. “Speaking for the seniors, I know who eats and who doesn’t eat. It makes a huge difference.”
At Berean, the mobile market supplements the church’s weekly food pantry, which is also open on Wednesdays.
“This year we gave away 1.2 million pounds of food to about 3,500 families,” Outreach Center Program Manager David Riley said last week. “That’s about 100,000 people.”
There is interaction between the two programs.
“They have vegetables that sometimes we don’t have, so we get it from them,” Riley said about the market.
The market was funded in part by $50,000 from the Arthur Blank Foundation.