By Makenzie O’Keefe
DENVER (CBS4) – The Any Street Grocery mobile food market is up and running, and now expanding, to eliminate the urban food desert.
On Saturday, the organization held a ribbon cutting ceremony to symbolize the pilot phase being over, as they work to expand their program into more Denver neighborhoods.
Any Street Grocery is a bus retrofitted to bring fresh, organic food directly to neighborhoods in need. For many people like Alicia Mestas, their neighborhoods don’t have a grocery store nearby.
“I have to travel. I have to have a car, a vehicle to go grocery shopping,” Mestas explained. “There are a lot of people who can’t go to it. They can’t go to the store.”
The goal of the mobile grocery store is to impact areas considered to be food deserts. That means a neighborhood that lacks access to healthy, affordable food options.
“We need to have a real serious conversation with our grocers who are not in the neighborhood and expect the consumers to come to them,” explained Mayor Michael Hancock.
The organization says there are over 14 food deserts in the Denver area including Montebello, Green Valley Ranch and Globeville.
“Instead of waiting for the grocery stores to come, we were like why don’t we make one and put it on wheels so we can bring it to multiple neighborhoods and reach as many people as possible,” Ashleigh Ruehrdanz said, who created Any Street Grocery.
The organization has a grant that allows them to operate, but they hope to continue to grow into more neighborhoods in the future.