‘Mobile Market’ to bring fresh food to KC urban core

If you see a giant ear of corn drive down the street, don’t be shocked. It’s a moving grocery store heading to designated Kansas City neighborhoods.

Beginning Tuesday afternoon, the Healthy Harvest Mobile Market will set up temporary shop at designated locations in the urban core.

The traveling produce market, a project of Truman Medical Centers and the Hospital Hill Economic Development Corp., is a specially outfitted, retired Kansas City Area Transportation Authority bus.

The bus, wrapped in food graphics, debuts at 4 p.m. today in front of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, where it will make a two-hour stop for customers to climb aboard and buy fresh vegetables and fruit.

The mobile grocery is another way that the medical center is “thinking outside of the bed” to improve community health, said hospital CEO John Bluford.

On a weekly basis, the bus will travel to specific sites in the downtown and east Kansas City area. The schedule, beginning Thursday:

• Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Jackson County Courthouse, 415 E. 12th St.

• Tuesdays, noon to 3 p.m., Lucile Bluford Public Library, 3050 Prospect Ave.

• Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Boys & Girls Clubs, 43rd St. and Cleveland Ave..

• Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Rd.

• Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St.

The bus also will bring nutritionists and dieticians to the sites to provide education about healthy eating.

“Many residents of the urban core battle chronic illness, and proper nutrition is a vital part of managing those issues,” said Loretta Britton, a member of the economic development board that co-sponsors the mobile market.

Financial backing for the project came from the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City Power & Light, Menorah Legacy Foundation, Metcalf Bank, J.E. Dunn, James B. Nutter & Co., Kansas City Parks and Recreation, and the transportation authority.

The economic development group also is working to establish a brick-and-mortar grocery store in the urban core, another effort to provide fresh produce in an area classified as an urban “food desert.”