Wednesdays at the library, YMCA and San Pablo Senior Center
By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Richmond resident Marsha Quick has more energy and has reached a healthy weight since she started visiting the Fresh Approach mobile farmers’ market at the Richmond Public Library on Wednesday mornings. She credits the truck for giving her a new appreciation for healthy foods.
“It has changed how I eat,” she said. “I used to hate broccoli, but now I have it four times a week because it’s so fresh. I’ve also learned how to make sweet potato tacos with ground turkey and spices. Most of all, I enjoy meeting other Richmond residents in line – I’ve made a lot of friends out here.”
Fresh Approach is a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to connecting residents to healthy food from California farmers and to expanding knowledge in the community about food and nutrition. Its mobile farmers’ market truck, stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, serves six cities in three Bay Area counties.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and recent inflation concerns have increased the number of Bay Area residents who face food insecurity,” said Fresh Approach Food Access Program Manager Ellen Olack. “We’ve seen lots of changes pre- and post- pandemic. More folks are coming out each week.”
The Fresh Approach truck stops at three locations on Wednesdays – the Richmond Public Library, the San Pablo Senior Center and the Richmond Parkway YMCA. The Richmond route and a similar route in Antioch are funded in part by Kaiser Permanente.
Yvette Radford, Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California vice president of External and Community Affairs, noted that having access to affordable, nutritious food is critical for good health.
“That’s why we have partnered with Fresh Approach to provide fresh produce every week to West County residents who are struggling to make ends meet during these challenging economic times,” she said. “This partnership reflects our deep commitment to improve health in the communities we serve and help people live longer, healthier lives.”
Fresh Approach offers a 50 percent discount to customers who participate in income-based benefit programs, including CalFresh (SNAP), WIC, SSI/SSDI, Medi-Cal and unemployment.
For Sharolyn Reed, the mother of three young children, the food truck has been life changing. It has enabled her to plan nutritious meals for her family every day and be more conscientious about healthy snacks.
“My kids look forward to eating apples and fresh vegetables every day,” she said. “I always have them on hand now.”
Fresh Approach Community Ambassador Towanna Turner said her primary goal is to help Richmond residents prevent various diseases by providing easy access to nutrient-rich food.
“I’ve seen people with tears in their eyes because they’re so grateful for healthy food,” she added. “I love being an ambassador because I’m able to help people live better lives.”
Every Wednesday, the Fresh Approach Mobile Farmers’ Market truck stops at the Richmond Public Library from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. It moves to the San Pablo Senior Center at 1943 Church Lane from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The last stop of the day is the Richmond Parkway YMCA at 4300 Lakeside Drive from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.