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An Oasis on Wheels

FOOD ON WHEELS Fresh Truck sells affordable produce six days a week all year round. COURTESY: JOSH TRAUTWEIN AND ANNIKA MORGAN

In 2011, Josh Trautwein was a nutrition educator in Boston, Massachusetts. He wanted to teach kids how to live healthy lives. Then the neighborhood’s only grocery store closed. As a result, families were having a tough time finding fresh fruits and vegetables. “We were trying to provide them with healthy cooking strategies to try at home,” Trautwein told TIME for Kids, “but we didn’t have an answer for the fact that there wasn’t a grocery store.”

A FRESH IDEA Josh Trautwein and Annika Morgan cofounded Fresh Truck in 2013.


Fresh Food For All

In 2017, about 17% of Americans lived more than half a mile from a supermarket. That’s according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA uses the term food desert to describe a neighborhood without access to fresh food.

Trautwein wanted to solve the food-desert problem. In 2013, he and Annika Morgan launched Fresh Truck. It’s a school bus that works as a grocery store on wheels. It’s also an oasis oasis ISTVAN KADAR PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES a fertile place in a desert; a safe haven (noun) Lake Huacachina is an oasis in Peru. for communities in need. Today, Fresh Truck has two mobile markets. They serve 17 locations in the Boston area. Shoppers can buy apples, sweet potatoes, and other fresh produce.

Annika Morgan of Fresh Truck plans events focused on nutrition.


But Morgan thinks the term food desert doesn’t paint a full picture. “The idea of a food desert implies there is no food,” she says. But, she adds, there are barriers that prevent access to fresh food. One is its high cost. Another is that people don’t know how to use the produce that is available.

Anne Palmer runs the Food Policy Network program at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. She says getting people excited about food policy policy FATCAMERA/GETTY IMAGES a course of action chosen in order to guide people in making decisions (noun) School policy says you must take physical education each year. can help remove barriers. And this can get healthy food on people’s plates. “The best thing about an issue like this is that you can do something about it,” she says.