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DC Department of Health and DC Central Kitchen Partner to Fight Obesity with New Mobile Food Cart Program

Monday, March 18, 2013
Food Carts Provide Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to District of Columbia Wards Most Affected by Food Deserts

Washington, D.C. – Today, the DC Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with DC Central Kitchen, launched its latest effort to fight obesity and health disparities across the District of Columbia with DC Fresh Mobile Produce Carts (DC Fresh) program.

The District of Columbia contains several “food deserts,” or areas lacking adequate access to sources of healthy food, most notably fresh fruits and vegetables. Without proper access to high-quality, affordable, and sustainable foods, the District residents are likely to see an increase in the prevalence of obesity. The program involves the sale of affordable, fresh produce in the District's documented food deserts located in Wards 5, 7 and 8.  

“Investing in programs like Healthy Corner Stores and DC Fresh Mobile Produce Carts will help provide neighborhoods with access to healthy options, which is a key component of my Sustainable DC plan,” noted Mayor Gray. “These programs will play an important role in our efforts to address health disparities and improve the quality of life for all residents.”

The Healthy Corners program is a direct result of the FEED DC Act, a policy to help existing corner stores sell fresh produce and healthy foods. There are 29 participating stores in Wards, 5, 7 and 8. The Fresh Mobile Produce Cart program aims to bring healthy, affordable food to 10 established high-need locations.  The goals of the program are: to increase opportunities for healthy food access; to promote consumption of healthy food, particularly by residents living in food deserts; and to boost economic development and employment in low-income communities.

Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is a key factor in managing weight and preventing heart disease,” said Dr. Saul Levin, Interim Director of the DC Department of Health. “Avoiding foods that are processed and that have high amounts of sodium is one of the key recommendations for people trying to manage chronic conditions. Providing increased access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables is a vital step toward facilitating improved eating behaviors among all District residents.”

Both programs -- DC Fresh and Healthy Corners -- will offer affordable, quality produce, to residents who have limited access to fresh produce.  The second phase of the program will be geared towards increasing the overall consumption of fruits and vegetables among all District residents.