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Mobile Greengrocers Expand to Combat Food Deserts in Liverpool

A plan aimed at increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables has garnered significant praise and is set to undergo expansion due to its overwhelming popularity.



Dubbed "Queen of Greens," this initiative based in Liverpool facilitates mobile greengrocers housed in minibuses, strategically targeting areas known as "food deserts" within the city. These are regions where the availability of fresh produce is limited, exacerbating health inequalities and nutritional deficiencies.


Statistics reveal a concerning reality: only around half of Liverpool's adults manage to meet the recommended five-a-day intake of fruits and vegetables. Shockingly, for adolescents aged 11 to 18, this figure plummets to a mere 12%.


The project, spearheaded by charitable organisations Feeding Liverpool and Feedback Global, with backing from various local entities, aims to bridge this gap in access to nutritious foods.


One of the stalwarts of this initiative is greengrocer Paul Flannery, who has been on board since its inception in 2022. He passionately articulates the impact of the scheme, noting how it not only introduces individuals to a diverse range of produce but also fosters a sense of community among patrons.


The mobile greengrocers operate on a fixed weekly schedule, prioritising stops at community and family centres located in areas where access to fresh produce is limited within a kilometre radius.


During my interactions with residents benefiting from this scheme, a recurring theme emerged: the scarcity of local shops offering healthy food options. One woman remarked that it was easier to place a bet than to procure a piece of fruit locally.


Lucy Antal, a senior project manager at Feedback Global, emphasised the significance of this initiative for individuals facing mobility challenges or limited financial means. For them, even a short distance to access fresh produce can pose significant hurdles.


Paul takes pride in offering competitive prices, diligently sourcing fresh stock from wholesale markets each morning. Moreover, a substantial portion of his clientele benefits from government-issued Healthy Start vouchers and those provided by the charity Alexander Rose, further incentivising healthy eating habits.


Beyond merely providing fresh produce, the initiative has extended its support by offering cookery courses, empowering individuals to prepare nutritious meals on a budget.


The positive impact of this initiative resonates deeply with local residents, particularly parents of young children who appreciate the absence of tempting displays of unhealthy snacks.


With funding and support from various local stakeholders, including the council and healthcare institutions like Alder Hey Children's Hospital, the Queen of Greens initiative is poised for expansion. Plans include the addition of another mobile greengrocer van and an increase in the number of stops across the city.


For Paul, the success of the initiative is not merely measured in profits but in its ability to make healthy eating accessible and affordable to all.

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