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Good to Go Greenville featured in Greenville News

We are thankful for Greenville News coverage of Good to Go Greenville as it launched in the Greater Sullivan and West Greenville communities on June 22nd, 2013!

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Partners take fresh approach to healthy eating

Mobile market brings produce to areas lacking access

Written by Lillia Callum-Penso

June 23rd, 2013

A new partnership between two local nonprofits is making it easier for people to access fresh produce in some of Greenville’s food deserts.

Saturday marked the launch of Good to Go Mobile Market, a mobile produce market created by Mill Village Farms and Loaves and Fishes. The venture is an effort to make it easier to get fresh food to local food deserts, areas defined by the USDA as places “vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods.”

With the mobile market, people who don’t have transportation or time to go elsewhere will be able to walk to a neighborhood church or community center to purchase fresh food.

“So it makes the healthy choice kind of the easy choice for them,” said Dan Weidenbenner, director of Mill Village Farms.

Good to Go has been in the works for many years, but only became a reality six months ago when Weidenbenner and Paulette Dunn, of Loaves and Fishes, formed an official partnership. The idea is to better address the difficulty many people face in getting healthy fresh food.

“This is going to make more of a direct impact,” said Dunn, executive director of the food rescue organization. “Part of that is also helping people participate in their food buying decisions. That’s empowering.”

Mill Village Farms formed in 2012 with a mission of reframing the urban farm model. Mill Village has two main goals, to grow fresh organic produce in underserved communities and help the youth in those communities develop their entrepreneurial skills. The organization employs youth interns who volunteer on MVF’s three farms. The youth interns will also help operate the mobile market.

“That’s a huge win for ourselves and our youth because they will be selling the produce they grew,” Weidenbenner said. “They see you can plant a seed and get a return on a dollar just by a little work.”

Price is often another barrier to accessing fresh produce, Weidenbenner said. So in conceptualizing Good to Go, Loaves and Fishes and Mill Village Farms did an extensive price comparison of goods. They studied prices at the three most popular shopping destinations, Aldi, Wal-Mart and Bi-Lo, to help set the mobile market’s prices.

This premier market season will run as a prototype from which to further develop the concept in the future. Right now, Good to Go will run on the first and third Saturdays of the month through the first week of October. The market will park at Long Branch Baptist Church in the Sullivan Street neighborhood from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. and at Bethel Bible Missionary Church in West Greenville from noon – 3 p.m.

The market held its grand opening on Saturday. Produce was provided by Mill Village Farms, and other food and giveaways were offered as well. Good to Go’s offerings will continue to grow throughout the summer and the mobile market hopes to add more vendors in the coming weeks.

“This is just our first stab at it,” Weidenbenner said. “We want to get our feet wet and then we want to expand it to go to businesses, community centers and other churches to be a full-time operation.”

For more information on the new Good to Go mobile market and the schedule of locations go to www.goodtogogreenville.org.