LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — If you head down to the Veggie Buck Truck's pop-up produce market, you’ll find fresh fruit and veggies for a steal of just $1 per pound.
"I use to say all the time: if you won’t come to the garden to get the broccoli, I’m bringing the broccoli to you. Somehow we are going to get it in your body," said Vegas Roots Community Garden founder Roz Brooks
The pilot program, spearheaded by the Southern Nevada Health District and partners, wants to increase access to low-cost fruits and vegetables while promoting a healthy diet.
"We know that a diet that includes fruit and vegetables helps individuals live a healthy life," said SNHD Community Health Educator Elika Nemateian. "We know that this community is typically underserved. We want to provide nutrition education and other resources to bring the community up."
Las Vegas is a city built on the floor of the Mojave Desert. Within that desert oasis is another type of desert -- a food desert.
"A food desert is commonly known as an area where individuals have a difficult time getting to a grocery store," said Nemateian "There’s not a helpful grocery store nearby or within driving distance to them."
The Bonneville Transit Center is near a neighborhood that is considered a food desert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported more than 120,000 Southern Nevadans live in such places and the typical household income is less than $40,000. On top of that, about 17% don’t have a vehicle.
That’s why the BTC, with 8,000 customers daily, is the perfect location for Vegas’ Roots Veggie Buck Truck.
"We are able to bring fruits and veggies into the community. Those that communities that may not have accessibility or may have to walk too far," said Brooks.
"The goal is to get the community to want to eat fruits and veggies. We’re able to educate as they ask questions about what’s this or how do you make it or the what kind of recipe," added Brooks. "You can’t do that when you go to a grocery store."
The market launched on Sept. 15 and will pop up again on Sept. 22 and 29 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nutrition information and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, enrollment is available.
The market is open to everyone and you can pay using cash, credit or debit. People can also use SNAP benefits, which qualify for “double up food bucks,” and receive a coupon that can be used at future participating locations.
The program's partnership includes the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Three Square Food Bank and Vegas Root’s Veggie Buck Truck.