A fleet of refrigerated trucks packed with produce began traveling to the city's underserved food neighborhoods today, starting with Lower Manhattan's Two Bridges. The trucks, dubbed the Veggie Vans, deliver locally-sourced produce to the city's food deserts, bridging the gap between communities and access to quality food products. As an empty Doritos bag swirled at this feet, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer proclaimed at a press conference that "all New Yorkers deserve access to fresh food, regardless of where they live. The Veggie Van will deliver it at a price you can't beat."
To take part in the program, residents sign up through participating community-based organizations and then have access to $10 bags of produce each week. The trucks will travel to senior centers, NYCHA communities, nursing homes and other residential complexes on a weekly basis, meaning elderly or disabled residents won't have to travel far to get quality food. “Now when I was a kid, you ran down the block when the Mister Softee ice cream truck came running down. That is so 1980s—I said 1980s by the way, I didn’t say '70s!—but that was so yesterday." Stringer quipped. "Now kids are gonna run down the street saying, ‘Mom, Dad, Grandma, here comes the Veggie Van! I want it!’” Stranger things have happened!
So far the Veggie Van has 125 registered users, but organizers see the potential for exponential growth as word gets out. After Two Bridges, the program will expand to other Manhattan communities, including Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood and possibly other locales depending on demand. The program is open to anyone and participants have the option to use cash, credit, debit and food stamps to pay for the groceries.