Mobile food buses could help solve food desert problem

Goal: Making healthy food available to people living in Northwest Jacksonville

Harveys is one of two grocery stores located in northwest Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mobile food buses in Northwest Jacksonville could soon be a reality. City leaders are working to solve a food desert problem in the area and busing residents to grocery stores is one idea being considered.

There are only two grocery stores in the area and residents of Northwest Jacksonville said they're always crowded and the selections are poor.

Councilman Sam Newby said despite the city offering millions in incentives, grocery stores have not shown interest in opening in the area, so he and other city leaders are working to start mobile food buses.

The plan is to have two buses set up grocery stores selling fresh and affordable fruit, vegetables and meat.

JTA has expressed an interest in providing the buses and they would be retrofitted to become mobile grocery stores.

The buses would then be turned over to a company or organization that would operate them.

People in the area said they need more food options.

Newby said the plan is in the early stages but he hopes the buses could be up and running by the end of the year.

City leaders have another meeting set for the middle of May to move forward with the plan.