MetroMarket, St. Louis
Credit: © Marcus Stabenow

New York City might be getting its own floating foraging barge, but in St Louis, they prefer to kick it a little more old school, converting a city bus into the St Louis MetroMarket, a travelling full-service grocery store that also features farmers market goods sourced from local farms and community gardens.

Formally launching this spring after trail runs last year, the non-profit market-on-wheels, founded by current and former students at Saint Louis University and Washington University, was initially conceived as a way to help bring healthy food to much-discussed “food deserts” (neighborhoods that lack a proper grocery store nearby) in the city. But the MetroMarket includes a larger scope to help finance the endeavor, also setting up shop in corporate parking lots where membership fees and sales help subsidize costs when the bus stops in low-income areas. “For every corporation we take on as a customer, we can subsidize this work in a low-income community,” cofounder Jeremy Goss told the Huffington Post.

Along with access to fresh produce, meat, dairy and bread, the bus – dubbed “Turnip1” – also provides other community services like cooking demos, nutritional information and even screenings from volunteer doctors. “We recognize that these communities are missing not just food but—after school programs for kids, and job opportunities for adults and so many other things that we are connected to other non-profit friends,” Goss told St Louis’s KSDK.

It’s a cool concept that sounds like it could appeal not just to those in need, but anyone who wishes they had a farmers market nearby. And, as far as food trucks go, it’s also more useful than a 7th grilled cheese truck rolling through town.