HEALTHY LIVING
07/23/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Veggie Mobile: Bringing Produce To Those In Need

For years, Mel Williams rarely ate fruit and vegetables -- unless it came out of a can.

Fresh produce was too expensive or too far away until the state-funded "Veggie Mobile" started bringing the fruits and vegetables to him at a lower price.

"I'm a diabetic and I have problems with my heart," the 66-year-old said. "The canned stuff has so much sodium in it. So now with the fresh fruit, it's less sugar and carbohydrates and stuff."

Williams is one of millions of Americans living in a "food desert," urban or rural areas unserved by a big grocery chain that can serve up fresh foods at lower costs. He's in Troy, a former industrial city about 10 miles from New York's capital.

With the rapidly climbing cost of food and fuel, states and nonprofit groups are finding ways to get healthy food to these underserved areas.

In New York, the health department gave $500,000 to the Veggie Mobile, operated by the Capital District Community Gardens and delivering fresh, locally grown produce to people in Albany, Troy and nearby Schenectady who otherwise might never buy a fresh apple or tomato.

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