f you drive through the Twin Cities along I-94, you will pass neighborhoods with very different life expectancies. Living in one neighborhood can mean living as much as 11 years longer than living in a neighborhood just a few miles away.”
Paul Mattessich, Ph.D., Executive Director of Wilder Research, shared this sobering statistic at a conference in November 2013 to underscore the importance of social determinants of health, including race, income and the conditions of our social and physical environment.
The conference, sponsored by Wilder Foundation in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, highlighted more than a dozen cross-sector efforts that promote the integration of health-related programs and community development.  TCMM_Leahquote.jpg
Throughout 2014, Wilder Research partnered with others to raise awareness about low-income and underserved populations with the aim of advancing health equity. Through the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Wilder Research is assessing how 21 community organizations in Minnesota are implementing policy, systems and environmental changes to encourage active living, healthy eating and limited exposure to tobacco.

How the Twin Cities Mobile Market Can Help

Thousands of residents live in neighborhoods with limited access to grocery stores that sell affordable, healthy food. Many families in these areas live at or below the poverty line, work irregular hours, and lack reliable transportation. These barriers make it difficult for families to find and access affordable, healthy foods, and as a result they face a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other negative health issues.
A program of Wilder Foundation, Twin Cities Mobile Market was developed based on research, studying innovative approaches around the nation, and extensive community engagement in Saint Paul. Twin Cities Mobile Market aims to improve health outcomes by bringing healthy food directly into areas that need it most. The Mobile Market is a grocery store built inside a renovated Metro Transit bus, equipped with everything needed to store and sell fresh foods. After its launch in December 2014, Twin Cities Mobile Market began operating five days a week, stopping at locations in Saint Paul neighborhoods such as public housing high-rises, senior buildings, community centers, and faith communities.
Throughout 2014 Twin Cities Mobile Market staff and volunteers convened hundreds of community members to gather their ideas and suggestions. Residents provided input about every aspect of the program, from what foods to stock to best times to visit their neighborhood or building. This input allowed Wilder to create a means of delivering healthy food, as well as a platform to educate the community about the importance of healthy meal planning and preparation.

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 "It's hard to find healthy alternatives I can afford for my whole family. I just want my family to be healthy, and having this market will make it that much easier."

- Ja'Na Dickens, mother of four and resident of Frogtown neighborhood in Saint Paul

Ja'Na and the Twin Cities Mobile Market are featured in Wilder's 2014 Annual Report. Click here for the full report.