This ordinary old transit bus has been converted into a full-service grocery store on wheels.
The St. Louis MetroMarket, dubbed “Turnip1” is stocked with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and bread from local farmers and community gardens.
MetroMarket volunteers and workers also offer nutritional information and food demonstrations so customers can discover the endless list of meals they can make with the food sold on the bus.
MetroMarket is a nonprofit group which was made possible through grants, donations, and a free bus given by the St. Louis’ metro transit department. The bus usually goes to corporate parking lots and low-income neighborhoods without grocery stores, places which they refer to as a ‘food desert.’
“Entire communities in St. Louis don’t have a grocery store. It was very frustrating to us,” medical student and co-founder of Metro Market Jeremy Goss shared.
In order to shop on the bus you need a membership, which they call a Fresh Pass, which costs $150. The membership can be subsidized either by an employer for annual membership or if you live below the poverty line in and in a food desert.
“We take the revenue that we make from the corporate campuses, and use that to offset the work that we’re doing in low-income communities,” Jeremy said.
“For every corporation we take on as a customer, we can subsidize this work in a low-income community.”
Food prices are also on a sliding scale. When someone with a corporate membership pays retail price, that means those who don’t typically have access to quality food can buy it at cost.
Corporations have partnered with MetroMarket because they believe in its social mission. Employees even volunteer to help with the educational events outside of the bus.
One of the bus’s partners, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, even has its doctors come by to write some unique prescriptions.
“The doctors will be screening and evaluating their patients for hunger in ways they haven’t before, and when they find a patients that does need a resource, they’re going to write them a prescription for fruits and vegetables.”
The bus can be seen around communities in St. Louis, Missouri on Thursday afternoons.