We are excited to introduce something new to the American Heart Association You're The Cure blog. We will be featuring guest blogger and AHA advocate, Alexia Vannucci monthly with a fresh perspective on the advocacy work of the American Heart Association. Through her lens you will learn about new programs, volunteer opportunities, fun recipes and so much more!
And now Alexia's first blog...
There is so much happening in Central Arkansas to improve food access in underserved communities. I'm going to focus in on one specific area-Fresh Fruits & Veggies. It’s something people need to maintain a healthy diet, yet so many go without. Luckily, someone is doing something about it!
I had the privilege of volunteering with the American Heart Association at the Fresh2You Mobile Farmers Market in Little Rock a few weeks ago. It is the neatest concept and it really opened my eyes to how fortunate I am to have a grocery store with fresh produce in my neighborhood. The Fresh2You Mobile Farmers Market was created by transforming a city bus into a market heaping with fresh produce from right here in Arkansas. The effort is being led by the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Raising Arkansas and Mosaic Church. Its main purpose is to serve those who live in a food desert. A food desert is an area that does not have easy access to fresh food. The market makes a few different scheduled stops, and some are busier than others. The current market schedule is below:
Fred W Parris Towers
1800 South Broadway, Little Rock
Jesse Powell Towers
Tuesdays; 1-2:30 pm
1010 Wolfe St, Little Rock
Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center
Saturdays; 9-11 am
4800 West Tenth St, Little Rock
8th & Cumberland
Saturdays; 12-1:30 pm
My experience at the market was humbling and comforting. Humbling because it allows me to realize how blessed I am to look in my fridge and find food that will make my body healthy and happy. Comforting to know someone is doing something about the issue. The people who play a part in the market are the type of people you wake up every day and look forward to being around. I saw smiles from little ones as volunteers handed them slices of fresh-cut peaches and I saw smiles from adults as they rang up their fruits and veggies. Yes, they were probably smiling at the price. The price just can't be beat. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients receive their produce at half price!
It was also really neat to see how 'Cooking Matters' is involved by providing recipes and empowering families with nutrition, shopping, and cooking skills for healthy, affordable meals. These resources can come in handy for anyone! I encourage you to check this out. You won't regret it and you may just become obsessed. Kinda like me...I know I will be visiting often. If you want more info on the Fresh2You Mobile Farmers Market you can check it out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Organizers plan to add more stops as more people learn about the market and it grows more popular.
The American Heart Association is working on multiple fronts to help address access to fresh and healthy food in Little Rock and beyond. There are so many amazing things happening at the American Heart Association and I am thrilled to volunteer my time to advocate for this and so many more worthwhile efforts. If you are interested in volunteering too please reach out to the AHA and the Advocacy Team will hook you up! Simply email [email protected].
Until next blog get out there and think HEART HEALTHY AND HAPPY!
***Alexia Vannucci resides in Benton, AR. She is a Senior at Benton High School where she is an active member of Student Council, Key Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, BHS Serve and Co-Captain of the Benton Panther Cheer Team. When not participating in school activities, she can often be found updating her blog, Heart Healthy and Happy, fitting in a quick workout or volunteering for the American Heart Association. Alexia also enjoys trying out new healthy recipes and hanging out with her friends. She has a passion for motivating people to live a healthier lifestyle. Her blog can be found at hearthealthyandhappy.com or you can follow her on Instagram.