Nashvillians take advantage of mobile market in food deserts

Nashvillians take advantage of mobile market in food deserts (Image 1)

Some people who have not always eaten well are eating better because of the Nashville Mobile Market.

It's a trailer full of fruits and vegetables that now makes more than a dozen stops weekly in Nashville areas often called “food deserts.”

“When it comes and you just walk across the street,” said Anne Wright Wednesday afternoon as the mobile market parked at the Hadley Park Community Center in north Nashville.

The mobile market lands in places often called food deserts, a term for neighborhoods dotted with fast food or convenient stores instead of easily accessible stores with healthy foods.

“Its very important to me, it's very nourishing [because] I love my bananas,” laughed Sylvia Jenkins as paid for her fruit at the trailer's checkout counter.

Some of the younger ones around Hadley Park are learning from their elders about the Nashville Mobile Market.

“There are not a lot of places to get fresh fruit and vegetables within walking distance or really within driving distance either,” said Allison May who works at the community center.

Her friend, Tennessee State University student Armenia Fifer said, “We often don't have a car, and without much money its fills a food void, especially for fruits and vegetables.”

Then there's Lucille Daniels who not only drives the mobile market truck, she collects the money from customers, tidies things up and has learned more than a little about eating better.

“You know it's changed my life dramatically, you know as far as eating more healthy stuff like that,” she said while straightening up some fruits in vegetables in the truck. “And my kids have been eating better too, so this is a good thing.”

It's a good thing because the food desert blooms a bit with the Nashville Mobile Market.

The mobile market is a non-profit business that has been around now more than two years.

The idea came from Vanderbilt medical student Ravi Patel who saw a need in patients he saw while working at a local free clinic.

“He noticed people with chronic illness related to health, wellness and nutrition,” said Nashville Mobile Market executive director Kelley Frances Fenelon. “And he started talking to them and he realized that a lot of them did not have access to fresh produce for whatever reason.”

So he decided to start the non-profit mobile market.

His executive directors say it's a “throwback to the time when market men brought carts to neighborhoods full of fresh produce.”

For more information on the mobile market, visit

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