Bringing healthy and organic fruits and vegetables into low-income areas of Toronto lacking grocery stores, this converted bus is much more than a normal food truck – it looks like an ordinary vehicle until it stops and deploys its colorfully-stocked shelves (images by Laura Berman).
As in many cities, there are ‘food deserts’ in Toronto in which it is hard to find fresh seasonal produce. Using a vehicle donated by the Toronto Transit Commission, LGA Architectural Planners helped convert this vehicle to address this issue.
“Even in a city as dynamic as Toronto, there remain neighbourhoods where residents are unable to access the foods essential to a healthy diet. This happens for a variety of reasons, including low-income, lack of access to public transit, and long distances to groceries and markets. Such conditions make it extremely difficult for individuals and families without access to a vehicle to find and purchase healthy foods. Senior citizens who might be less mobile are hit especially hard by this type of isolation.”
Lettuce, berries, okra, yucca, broccoli, apples and more fill the fold-out shelves extending out from the side of the Mobile Good Food Market. Inside, bins of additional veggies and fruits can be accessed by walking or wheelchair, a handy feature for cold and wet weather.
The project was commissioned by FoodShare Toronto in partnership with the City of Toronto and United Way Toronto in a joint effort to help supplement unhealthy local options in neighborhoods starved for good and fresh foods.
“The design also offered the opportunity to shop from the inside in inclement weather,” notes Dean Goodman of LGA, pointing out that as a former Wheel-Trans bus, ramps for ease of entry and exit were already in place. “Good food is beautiful when displayed well, so when we decided we wanted this to be a feature we worked out the mechanism so one person could fold out the shelves, restock as necessary and display the food so it was attractive.””