AUBURN — State and local officials joined St. Mary’s Nutrition Center of Lewiston, Cultivating Community of Portland and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation to launch the Good Food Bus – a colorful, repurposed school bus turned mobile food market. The Good Food Bus, part of the three-year initiative, Good Food Moves, will make stops across Lewiston-Auburn and surrounding communities thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. The 2015 season of the Good Food Bus will run through Oct. 30 and resume next spring.

“Health prevention often starts with the food we eat, and for some, accessing healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables can be challenging,” said Karen Voci, President of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “Across the country, organizations are using mobile markets to increase access to fresh and local fruits and vegetables. Here in New England, Harvard Pilgrim is launching a fleet of mobile markets to address this challenge and create better access to healthy food.” In addition to the Good Food Bus, Harvard Pilgrim has funded mobile markets in Worcester, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Lowell, Mass., and is preparing to launch a market in Manchester, N.H., in 2016.

“Starting today, the Good Food Bus will sell fresh, local and fairly priced produce and other food items directly to people where they live, work and play,” said Kirsten Walter, Director of the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, as she kicked off the event. “Increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy food to everyone in our community is a very important goal of the Good Food Bus. We are thrilled to work with close partners, passionate area businesses and community members to make this a lasting resource.”

During the initial phase for the 2015 harvest season, the Good Food Bus will make the following scheduled stops through the month of October. Stops are open to the public except for the Bath Iron Works location.

Wednesdays: Noon to 2 p.m. at PAL Center, 24 Chestnut St., Auburn; 3 to 5 p.m. at Knox Street Community Garden, 61 Knox St., Lewiston.

Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bath Iron Works, West Gate (not open to the public); 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Central Maine Medical Center, 300 Main St., Lewiston.

Fridays: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.: Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supply, 359 Minot Ave., Auburn; 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, 100 Campus Ave. by parking lot A, Lewiston.

Sherie Blumenthal, project lead for the Nutrition Center, explained that the Good Food Bus will accept cash, credit, debit, WIC, and SNAP/EBT at every stop and increase the purchasing power of SNAP benefits for people to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into their homes.

The event culminated with a raffle drawing and Mayor LaBonte and Karen Voci cutting the ribbon and officially opening the Good Food Bus for customers to buy good food.

FMI:, [email protected], 207-513-3848.

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