Junior League of Phoenix was excited to be a part of an innovative new program aimed at increasing access to fresh food. Fresh Express by Discovery Triangle is a mobile fresh produce market, which will sell fresh, affordable, and high-quality fruits and vegetables out of a retrofitted Valley Metro bus. Junior League of Phoenix was proud to be a founding sponsor for this food bus.
The stated goal of the Fresh Express is “to enhance the health of Discovery Triangle residents by increasing access, availability, and affordability of fresh produce and providing health and wellness resources to empower community members to make healthy choices.” This goal was highly aligned with our focus area of “Building a Healthy Arizona.” As a founding partner of this exciting project, JLP was responsible for the nutrition education component of the food bus program. Through a three-year partnership with Fresh Express, JLP members were able to develop and implement a nutrition curriculum for Fresh Express customers that included handouts on healthy eating and nutritional guidelines, recipes for utilizing fresh produce, and cooking/recipe demonstrations.
Fresh Express began selling its produce in April 2014 with a pilot program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The bus visited schools in the Balsz School District of Phoenix, as well as senior centers and community centers in the area.
The “Discovery Triangle” was a 25-square-mile area encompassing an area of downtown Phoenix and downtown Tempe that was considered to be a food desert. A food desert is an area where affordable and healthy food is difficult to obtain, particularly those without access to a personal vehicle. Residents of food deserts often rely upon convenience stores for much of their grocery shopping, or take public transportation to attempt to reach the nearest grocery store. The Food Desert Locator had identified 55 food deserts in Maricopa County alone.
Junior League of Phoenix was proud to participate from 2014 – 2017 with Fresh Express to get help increase access to healthy fresh food – a huge step towards our goal of Building a Healthy Arizona.