Food Desert Solution: Mobile Supermarkets

Could a beer truck full of groceries revolutionize the way we think about food desert solutions? In New Mexico, one retiree is trying just that.

You’ve heard of food trucks and green carts. Now there’s a building momentum around mobile supermarkets that can tackle the country's food deserts.

Rick Schnieders grew up working in a little grocery store in Iowa and worked for years with Sysco, the United States' largest food distributor, until retiring a year and a half ago. He admits that he doesn't play golf or own a boat, so he's making the most out of retirement with a for-profit company called Mogro.

The mobile grocer started trucking in groceries in a 33-foot long trailer—10 full bays with 200 supermarket items—in Santo Domingo Pueblo, a Native American community in New Mexico. It’s basically a beer trailer with added refrigeration. Shopping there is sort of like walking through an outdoor grocery store, albeit one with only two aisles and no chips, soda, or candy bars.

"The trailer is the easy part," Schnieders told me. "The rest of it becomes pretty complicated. You’ve got to find a distributor. You’ve got to have a driver with a Commercial Driver’s License. Just showing up in a community is not enough. We’ve partnered with Johns Hopkins to do cooking classes and events, so you do have to put a lot of pieces together.”

What also makes Mogro different from other mobile food banks and grocers-on-wheels is that it stocks more than just fruits and vegetables. Schnieders doesn't think there's a high enough return on produce to make that venture economically sustainable. In the long-run, perhaps the business could be a model for filling in the gaps that make food deserts—access to healthy affordable food.

"But the real reason we're doing this is because we love this part of the country," he says. "We love the people. It’s an absolute crying need. My wife and I have a biding interest in food, agriculture, and nutrition. And we wanted to see if we could make this work."

Photo: Mogro, via @michaelpollan

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less