PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Finding affordable healthy food is not easy for many Rhode Islanders. On Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, Food on the Move Rhode Island, will launch a new, federally funded incentive program at its mobile markets that bring affordable fresh produce to neighborhoods and housing complexes where it is otherwise scarce.
“We have very high rates of food insecurity in this state,” said Amy Nunn, assistant professor in the Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health of Brown University and executive director of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute. “RIPHI is addressing the issue by bringing mobile produce markets to communities across the state.”
The launch of Food on the Move Rhode Island’s incentive program at the Kilmartin Plaza housing complex in Providence, will be one of the first mobile markets that increases Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients’ benefits when they buy fruits and vegetables.
Leaders from all levels of government will speak at the event.
Food on the Move Rhode Island builds on the success of the “Fresh To You” mobile market program. In studies that started in 2009, Brown researcher Kim Gans found that Fresh To You markets led to significant increases in fruit and vegetable intake.
Gemma Gorham, project director at the Institute of Community Health Promotion at Brown, said that Food on the Move Rhode Island will apply many of the lessons learned from those earlier efforts. Among those is the need and demand for a greater supply of both local and culturally appropriate produce such as mangoes, plantains, and yucca.
A U.S. Agriculture Department grant announced earlier this year will allow the program to double the buying power of shoppers using SNAP benefits for fruits and vegetables at the mobile markets. For example, $1 in SNAP dollars will be worth $2 in this new program.
Amy Nunn and Gemma Gorham, program directors
Jack Reed, U.S. senator
Andy Moffit, first gentleman of Rhode Island
Jorge Elorza, mayor of Providence
Nicole Alexander-Scott, director, Rhode Island Department of Health
The kick-off of Food on the Move Rhode Island, a program of mobile markets of fresh affordable healthy fruits and vegetables for Rhode Island urban residents who lack access to them. The event will feature a market with cooking demonstrations, taste testing, and speakers.
160 Benedict St.
11:30 a.m., Friday Sept. 11, 2015