WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - On a brisk Tuesday afternoon, Joy French walks out of her apartment complex down to a garden of fresh food right at her fingertips.
“It’s amazing you don’t have to find your way to the store," French said. "She comes every week and everything is fresh. Eggs are wonderful. Veggies are great.”
French lives at Solomon Towers on Castle Street, a Wilmington Housing Authority affordable housing unit houses mainly low-income families. Last week, a colorful transit van in the neighborhood caught French’s eye.
“We are the Local Motive Mobile Farmer’s Market, a new program just launched to address food insecurity and lack of food access in low-income food dessert communities,” said Jordyn Appel, community food access coordinator with Feast Down East.
Each week, the van rolls into 10 different public housing sites offering everything from carrots to broccoli, rutabagas to radishes, all locally sourced at a reduced rate.
“Six out of the 10 sites are in food desserts in Wilmington, meaning residents have to travel more than one mile to access nutrient, dense foods,” said Appel.
French is all too familiar with that struggle.
“A lot of us don’t have a way to get to the store to get the fresh produce, so this is just amazing," said French.
Local Motive accepts is SNAP/EBT, which is safe from the government shutdown, but after February could be in jeopardy.
This month, the NC Department of Health and Human Services extended the re-certification period for those who use food and nutrition services also known as SNAP or food stamps.
“We are really concerned about what could happen after February," Appel said. "We don’t want anyone to go hungry. They are already malnourished because they aren’t getting nutrient, dense food, then with this potential administration cut to a valuable program, we want to ensure citizens are able to eat.”
French paid cash for her produce on Tuesday in an effort to save her SNAP dollars.
“I am a little bit worried," French said. "I don’t know what’s going to happen. We are safe through February, so right now I am saving my SNAP benefits because they add up every month.”
Approximately 13,448 households receive food and nutrition services through the New Hanover County Department of Social Services, and approximately 3,147 are on the women, infants and children (WIC) nutrition program.
For a schedule of where the Local Motive Mobile Farmer’s Market will be each week, click here.