LEAP Mobile Market
This year, funds raised through Roanoke Valley Gives will support the innovative LEAP Mobile Market. The Mobile Market brings fresh, healthy, local produce (grown within 100 miles) to Roanoke neighborhoods where it is otherwise hard to access fresh food (a.k.a. "food deserts").
At our 11 weekly stops in 2018, we provided 2,500+ residents of low-income, low-access neighborhoods with over $31,000 worth of fresh, healthy produce, eggs, baked goods, meat, and more. In 2019, we will expand to even more stops each week in USDA-defined "food desert" neighborhoods.
Because food access isn't just a matter of getting to a place to buy food, but also being able to afford quality food, the Mobile Market (like all LEAP markets) participates in our Healthy Food Incentive Program. We accept and double the value of SNAP benefits (i.e. "food stamps") - so $1 in SNAP = $2 tokens to spend on fresh food! We also double the buying power of Medicaid and WIC recipients in the same way, and have voucher programs to provide free, quality, local food to low-income parents of kids enrolled in Head Start, fresh food "prescriptions" and nutrition education for patients suffering from diet-related illnesses like diabetes, for low-income seniors living in Roanoke Redevlopment and Housing Authority sites, and more. In 2018, low-income and food-insecure individuals redeemed almost $37,000 worth of healthy, local food at LEAP Markets using Healthy Food Incentives!
Our customers always tell us how much they appreciate the Mobile Market, and our customer surveys bear out the impacts the program has: 96% of customers reported that they've increased their fruit and vegetable consumption as a result of the program. Over 90% get the majority of their produce from the Mobile Market, and 77% find it difficult to get fresh food in their neighborhood outside of the market. And 100% of customers agree with the statement: "I feel welcome at this market."
Check out our website to hear from a few shoppers who have benefitted from the LEAP Mobile Market!