Back in 2010, the city of Toronto (in Ontario, Canada) decided to launch a program that converts old unused metro buses into mobile grocery stores called Mobile Good Food Markets, and ever since, they've been traveling across the Toronto metropolitan area selling affordable fresh food. They have been especially successful (and helpful) in low income neighborhoods.
How they got started?
It started out as a collaboration between FoodShare Toronto, the city of Toronto, and United Way Toronto. They came up with the idea to take an old bus and convert it into what is now a mobile food market.
Everything from broccoli and lettuce to apples and onions are available when the bus comes to town, twice per week. Because the costs involved by the bus have to be taken care of, food prices aren’t much lower than what might be found in a supermarket. However, at least families have the opportunity to purchase higher-quality, nutrient-dense food when the bus visits.
Why it's a great idea
Mobile Good Food Markets address the need for fresh, quality produce in food deserts, neighborhoods where a grocery store is nowhere in sight or too expensive for residents. In their current model of development, some neighborhoods don’t receive adequate transit service or people don’t own cars and the local grocery store is just too expensive or far away. Mobile markets offer a low cost place to buy quality produce while meeting neighbours close to home.
Even though this program is non-profit, it's still a great idea of being entrepreneurial in a very creative way!