The UNT Dallas partnership with Toyota and DART that will transform a low-emission bus into a mobile market to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to southern Dallas neighborhoods that lack access to wholesome foods is a significant investment in our community, and one that biology professor Dr. Kelly Varga believes can pay major dividends for residents.
The project took its next step with a contest to give the mobile market bus, donated to UNT Dallas by DART, a name.
With local growers on campus, and a food buffet set up for students, dozens of names were entered over the three-hour "Name That Bus" event. Dr. Varga and others involved in the project will now narrow the entries to a Final Three. The finalists will be put to a vote at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Too many communities in our region are deemed "food deserts" because they lack access to fresh produce. This can be especially detrimental to schoolchildren who do not receive proper nutrition on a daily basis. UNT Dallas students are working to develop a business plan that aims to improve the fresh-food options in southern Dallas through the use of the bus and locally grown produce.
“Once a community is placed within the context of a food desert, negative stigma leads to stunted business growth and overall diminished community value,” said Dr. Varga, whose work in a South Dallas neighborhood gained the attention of Toyota as it seeks to advance its own mobility strategy. “The University of North Texas at Dallas’ Fresh Mobile Market strives to address these concerns through transport of fresh, locally sourced produce directly into neighborhoods in one of the largest food-insecure regions."