Farmers’ markets are all the rage these days…but imagine, just $10 for 60 pounds of fresh produce?
That’s what you’ll find at Market on the Move, which distributes more than 200,000 pounds of USDA-inspected produce every week at eight to 12 locations in Tucson and Metro Phoenix.
Anyone can take part and share the produce with family, friends, neighbors or anyone they know who may be in need.
“It’s essentially a way to rescue produce that was going to be disposed of and to distribute it farmer’s market-style to people who can use it,” said Andy Martin, a volunteer who supervises the program in Tucson with Gail Topolinski and Cheryl Cecil.
Martin stressed that it’s not a sale, but a donation, and not everyone takes the full 60-pound limit.
“Some take just a small box, or what they need, and others will take more and distribute it to others who can’t pay or can’t get to the market… elderly, disabled, maybe just the ‘invisible poor’ who fall through the cracks,” Martin said.
Market on the Move is a program of The 3000 Club, a non-profit charitable organization that works with the Borderlands Food Bank and partners with churches and other non-profit organizations.
The produce comes from Mexico and is transported to Nogales, Ariz., to facilities that handle the distribution for supermarkets and food warehouses throughout the country. There Market on the Move “rescues” produce, sorts it and ships it, usually with 24 to 48 hours because of its limited shelf life.
Martin is a volunteer at Southwest Medical Aid in Tucson, which is also affiliated with The 3000 Club, and when he discovered the Market on the Move program it turned out to be, he said, “a perfect fit.” He worked for more than 20 years in the produce business in Nogales before retiring to Tucson. “I have a skill set that works very nicely” with his volunteer work now, he added.
For a $100 yearly membership fee, The 3000 Club member can go to any of the event locations and get the produce at no additional donation. The program is seasonal, operating from November through May.
Market locations for March
The schedule in Tucson for March, with all events running from 8 a.m. until noon:
St. Ambrose Parish, 300 S. Tucson Blvd.
St. Joseph Parish, 215 S. Craycroft Ave.
St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, 4725 E. Pima St.
Most Holy Trinity Parish, 1300 N. Greasewood Rd.
St. Pius X Parish, 1800 N. Camino Pio Decimo.