The Cabarrus Health Alliance is continuing its mission to advance healthy eating in the area by bringing their mobile food market, offering fresh produce at an affordable price, to Kannapolis and Concord.
Acknowledging public awareness to the market is vital, CHA program coordinator Alicia McDaniel said. “We are here, we are accessible and friendly,” she said during the first market, June 3 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Kannapolis.
“It is better quality produce and it’s affordable,” she said, pointing out that most of the produce is local and the markets are set up to take cash, credit, SNAP and EBT as payment – similar to any grocery store. The markets are part of the CHA Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant to increase healthy food access to minority residents.
Joy Brennan, mobile market coordinator for the St. Joseph Catholic Church, said she thought this was a great way to get people to eat healthy foods. Brennan said that once McDaniel presented the idea to the parish council, the church was 100 percent supportive of the idea.
“I would encourage everyone to buy from local markets or farmers markets because the vegetables are fresh and haven’t been sitting on the shelves losing nutrition,” she said.
The first customer June 3 – Ligia Guerrero – was excited about the selection but concerned about the pricing at first. “Where are the signs with the prices?” she asked, pointing to the cucumbers piled up on the table. Barry Francois, from Queen City Mobile Market with Friendship Gardens out of Charlotte, quickly calmed her anxiousness by saying, “Cucumbers are two for a dollar, the small ones are four for a dollar,” much cheaper than many grocery stores.
Explaining that everything was locally grown, except for the citrus, Francois followed Guerrero down the table with a bag in his hand. Francois was quoting the prices as Guerrero selected items until she had a bag full for a total of only $12.50. Guerrero seemed pleasantly surprised by the weight of the bag when he handed it to her.
McDaniel said they have received great support from the faith communities involved in the program from the beginning as she planned the markets in February.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The local produce is provided by Peachtree Market, of Concord, and Friendship Gardens, of Charlotte, with the citrus currently from California but switching to Florida as soon as the season permits.
The markets will be 4 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday.
First and third Wednesdays: St. Joseph Catholic Church, 108 S. Joseph St., Kannapolis.
Second and fourth Wednesdays: Grace Lutheran Church, 58 Chestnut Drive, Concord.
For details on the Cabarrus Health Alliance and its programs: www.cabarrushealth.org