The mobile food market could soon be a reality in Colombia

The market would initially launch in three postcodes: 29203, 29204 and 29223.

COLUMBIA, SC — Columbia City leaders are looking to bring fresh food to communities in need by creating a mobile food market.

“The mobile market stops, it has fruits, vegetables, maybe diary, maybe meat, so you don’t have to go out of your neighborhood to access healthy food “, said Food Policy Committee of Colombia member Ashley Page.

Page hopes the market can make several stops a day, every week. She said she would like to see the market accept SNAP and WIC, as well as other forms of payment like cash, credit cards, cash payment apps, etc.

The proposal was presented at a Columbia City Council committee meeting, but it’s unclear when the full council will vote on the idea.

Page said the market would launch in three ZIP codes: 29203, 29204 and 29223. Once successfully implemented in these areas, it would expand to other neighborhoods.

These three zip codes were identified as priorities because according to Page, these areas are low-income with poor access to food.

“There is food available, but it’s a lot of unhealthy food and you don’t have much access to healthier food options,” Page said.

According to census data, the combined population of these postal codes is 171,000 people. The poverty rate for area residents is 18.4%, higher than the state average rate of 13.7%.

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posted by Columbia SC Food Policy Committee on Tuesday, September 13, 2022

As a mother of two young children, Katrisha Johnson knows the importance of healthy eating.

“They love sliced ​​oranges, strawberries, my youngest loves pears, he loves bananas,” Johnson said.

However, she said having only one grocery store nearby means it’s not always easy to get to.

“I wouldn’t have to waste so much gas going here or there or five extra miles to the store or if they don’t have something I need, another 10 miles for something “, Johnson said.

Page said the next step is to secure funding for the estimated $300,000 start-up cost.

In June, Columbia launched the Food Access Map to help residents locate fresh foods.

RELATED: New Tool Helps Locate Fresh Foods and Vegetables in the Columbia Area

Casey J. Nelson