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New Mobile Market Aims To Alleviate Hunger In Champaign-Urbana

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The new Mobile Market will target underserved communities within Champaign-Urbana.

CHAMPAIGN – Nearly 16% of Champaign County residents struggle to afford food, according to a 2020 Feeding America study. A new bus on the streets of Champaign-Urbana is aiming to alleviate that.

The new Mobile Market is the product of a partnership between Carle Health and the newly formed Champaign-Urbana City Farms. The pay-what-you-can food market on wheels will drive around two days per week to communities within Champaign Urbana that are experiencing high levels of food insecurity. It will be paired with Carle’s Mobile Health Clinic.

“Food insecurity impacts every aspect of your health, and we’re well aware of that,” says Jonathan Woods, Executive Director of Carle’s Community Health Initiatives. “This helps meet those basic needs and helps get families and individuals that solid start.”

The market will provide fresh produce from local farms, including Sola Gratia and Prosperity Gardens. It will be served out of a bus, which was donated by the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. 

According to Woods, the project has been in the works since before the pandemic. However, he says it’s more important now than ever.

“It’s become even more challenging to travel, more challenging to access healthy food,” he says. “This is a perfect opportunity to really meet needs at a local, home level.”

Woods says the goal is to make this a sustainable, year-round resource for the community. He says he also hopes to eventually expand the Mobile Market system beyond the C-U area.

The Mobile Market schedule can be found here.

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Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin covers food and agriculture for Illinois Newsroom. Her work has reached both national and regional audiences through WILL's partnership with Harvest Public Media, an ag-focused Midwest reporting collaborative. Prior to Illinois Newsroom, she worked at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. and for other member stations including KQED in San Francisco and 91.5 KRCC in Colorado Springs, CO. ➤ DCronin@illinois.edu@DanaHCronin

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