Farm Express, a mobile produce market that sells fresh produce in underserved communities around the Greater Phoenix area, is expanding its reach after adding a second vehicle to its fleet.
Since 2014, Farm Express has been stopping at community centers and low-income communities in what it calls the Discovery Triangle, a 25-square-mile swath of Arizona that includes parts of Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix.
“The residents in that area didn’t have access to healthy fresh food,” said Elyse Guidas, Executive Director of Farm Express, “so Farm Express was created to address the needs of that community specifically.”
But in the years that have passed, Farm Express had been hoping to expand its services to other parts of the Valley.
“This area that we’re in now, North Central Phoenix, has been on our radar for a long time,” Guidas said, “but we didn’t have the capacity with one bus to serve this community as well.”
That changed after Dunn Transportation, an Arizona-based transportation company, donated a bus to Farm Express in 2017. It took the nonprofit some time to retrofit the vehicle, Guidas said, but the vehicle is already making stops around Phoenix two days per week. Their other bus operates four days per week.
“With a second vehicle, we’re able to eventually double our reach, get our services out to more families that need it most, and make sure that everybody has access to high quality, affordable fruits and vegetables,” Guidas said.
In its first three years of operation, Farm Express sold over 200,000 produce items.
Guidas says that Farm Express’s prices are competitive with grocery store prices, and the nonprofit also accepts SNAP and EBT benefits.
“I think it’s going to have a huge impact,” said Linda Miranda, Market Coordinator for Farm Express, about the second bus. “We’ve heard from several of our customers that they feel like they finally are being heard.”