UPDATE January 30, 2014: New Tuesday schedule and Thursday schedule effective February 4 and 6, 2014.

At The Jackson County Courthouse Every Tuesday
'Rolling Grocery Store' Improves
Access To Healthier Foods

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has identified 32 "food deserts" in Jackson County. To provide an "oasis" in these areas where access to healthier foods is limited, the Truman Medical Centers (TMC) and the Hospital Hill Economic Development Corporation have created a grocery store on wheels.

The TMC Healthy Harvest Mobile Market, a retrofitted bus filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, now makes stops each Tuesday and Thursday at key locations in Kansas City's urban core. The Mobile Market made its first stop at the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City on Tuesday, July 24. (Review the list of Mobile Market stops.)

Providing more residents an opportunity to purchase more fresh produce at affordable prices is part of TMC's ongoing effort "to 'think outside the bed' and bring healthy choices outside the hospital walls to the community," , according to TMC President/CEO John W. Bluford.


Mobile Market


Supported Through Grants & Donations

The produce and non-perishable items are being sold "for as low a price as you are going to find anywhere," TMC Director of Innovation Brendan Cossette noted during a presentation before the Jackson County Legislature on Monday, July 23. The Mobile Market is being funded through grants and donations, he explained, with support coming from the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City Power & Light, Menorah Legacy Foundation, Metcalf Bank, JE Dunn, James B. Nutter & Company, the Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA).

The KCATA donated the 40-foot bus, replacing the passenger seats with 84 food bins and a stainless steel counter. "We now basically have a rolling grocery store," said Cossette.

Experts On Board

All forms of payment, excluding checks, are accepted on the Mobile Market. In addition to the food, dieticians and nutritionists are on board to offer expert advice for eating a healthier diet.

"People obviously need access to healthy food," stated Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. "It's necessary to having a healthy lifestyle, longevity -- everything we would want to have for the citizens of our community."

He added, "Our partnership with Truman Medical Centers is, no pun intended, bearing fruit for the citizens of Jackson County."

'Food Deserts'

TMC treats numerous patients who have chronic conditions that can be improved if not entirely eliminated through eating a better diet.

"We think it is our mission to not only treat the patients at our hospital," said Cossette, "but to also try and improve the overall health of our entire community."

The model for the Mobile Market was the successful Fresh Moves program launched in Chicago after a 2006 report revealed "food deserts" were a growing problem in the Windy City.

The USDA defines a "food desert" as a "low-income census tract" where a substantial number of residents have limited access to a supermarket. To be declared a "food desert" a geographical area must meet the following criteria:  

  • To qualify as a "low-income community," a census tract must have either: 1) a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher, OR 2) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area's median family income;

  • To qualify as a "low-access community," at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract's population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).

According to the Federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, residents in a "food desert" often have limited transportation and "rely on fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer little or no fresh food."


Mobile Market Stops

Every Tuesday

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Jackson County Courthouse
   415 E. 12th Street
   Kansas City, Missouri
   (Bus parks behind the courthouse
    at 13th & Locust)

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
   Lucile Bluford Public Library
   3050 Prospect Avenue
   Kansas City, Missouri

Noon - 1:00 p.m.
Palestine Senior Center
   3325 Prospect Avenue
   Kansas City, Missouri

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Operation Breakthrough
   3039 Troost Avenue
   Kansas City, Missouri

Every Thursday

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Historic Truman Courthouse
   112 W. Lexington
   Independence, Missouri

11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Northwest CDC
(formerly Fairmount Community Center)
   217 S. Cedar Avenue
   Independence, Missouri 64052

Noon - 2:00 p.m.
Samuel U. Rodgers
   825 Euclid Avenue
   Kansas City, Missouri 64124

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Rotating Stops

1st Thursday
  Lawndale Heights
     1400 Toppling Avenue
     Kansas City, Missouri

2nd Thursday
     1350 E. 17th Street
     Kansas City, Missouri

3rd Thursday
  Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater KC
     Thornberry Unit
     3831 E. 43rd Street
     Kansas City, Missouri

4th Thursday
  Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater KC
     Hawthorne Unit
     16995 E. Dover Lane
     Independence, Missouri


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