February 2013

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live in a man���s world Jefffood to the masses Maurer Moving By Ronnie Garrett It was a young girl and a blueberry that started Jeff Maurer on a journey to bring healthy foods to Dane County neighborhoods with less access to fresh foods. The 9-year-old had held up a blueberry and asked the Madison grocer and owner of Fresh Madison Market what the little blue thing was. ���The fact that she didn���t know what a blueberry was because she had never seen one before was absolutely heartbreaking to me,��� he recalls. The incident provided the incentive to forge ahead on a project he had pondered for the better part of a year. He���d been asked by Allied Drive residents to locate a grocery store in the lower-income neighborhood on Madison���s south-west side. Here, the only food options within walking distance came from a handful of fast food restaurants, gas stations and liquor stores. Though locating a grocery store there wasn���t economically feasible, the fact remained that residents had little or no access to fresh food. This seemed unacceptable to Maurer. A trip to Chicago to see Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market, a retrofitted city bus used to transport produce, dairy and meat to Windy City neighborhoods, gave him his answer. He knew he���d found a way to move food to neighborhoods across Dane County, and the nonprofit Freshmobile was born. Dubbed Madison���s ���Market on Wheels,��� Freshmobile, a semitrailer stocked with 250 kinds of produce, meat, milk, eggs, cheese, butter and select grocery items, now delivers goods to residents of six Dane County neighborhoods where fresh food may be miles away. With studies linking lack of access to fresh foods to diet-related problems, Freshmobile provides more than just food for people to eat, it helps improve their health. Why did you decide to only offer healthy foods on the truck? We don���t want to be a convenience store. We want to be a true farmers��� market on wheels, selling additional things like milk, meat and other items that are basic necessities to most people���s diets. We don���t carry anything that is sweetened, other than chocolate milk. How did you navigate the logistical challenges of transporting food to neighborhoods this way? We have to maintain the right temperature at all times. Produce is kept at one temperature and more perishable items are kept at lower temperatures in coolers. We spent $175,000 on a truck and a 44-foot trailer built by a company that makes trailers for Nascar. It has the frames and suspension we need to haul products and coolers onboard. Its onboard water and power supplies enable us to park anywhere. What kind of schedule do you keep? The schedule needs to be consistent. We can���t put residents in a position where they are guessing when we are going to be there. We go to most neighborhoods twice a week and are in each location for three hours. We try to come at two different times of the day to accommodate people working different shifts. How many customers do you see in a week���s time? There has been a steady increase in the number of people we are serving. We are currently averaging 250 customers per week. How has this project driven home your belief that kids need better nutrition? We���ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from teachers in the neighborhoods we serve, which underscores the idea that for kids, especially, having access to healthy foods is extremely important. The right diet helps keep kids focused and gives them the best opportunity to learn. We need to teach kids to eat right. If we don���t, and we just teach them how to buy fast foods, the cycle will perpetuate itself. What���s next for Freshmobile? We continue to look for other neighborhoods needing our service. We are currently working with the Town of Madison to park in a neighborhood there. As we grow our company, this is certainly something that will come with us based on community needs. ��������� What is your favorite healthy treat? Strawberries. 26 BRAVA Magazine What is your top tip for healthy eating? Look for produce that is in season because it will be most affordable. Navel oranges out of Florida are good choice right now. February 2013 What is one word you would use to describe yourself? Community. I truly believe it takes a whole village to raise a child. We all need to work together. What is your favorite Madison dining spot? Paisan���s Italian Restaurant. Photo by Shanna Wolf Quick Questions with Maurer

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