Mogro — short for mobile grocery — is on a mission to fill food deserts in New Mexico (and hopefully soon, the rest of the country) with easy access to healthy food. The Mogro concept is simple – there are food deserts all around this country where communities lack access to a regular supermarket (many times because of socioeconomic issues) so why not just bring the supermarket to them? Mogro’s refrigerated supermarket trucks are filled with everything from fresh produce to healthy breads and also provide cooking demonstrations for the communities they visit to encourage customers to reach out of their comfort zones to try healthy foods they might not have encountered before.
Researchers looking into the food desert problem have concluded that there is a direct relationship between food-related health problems and a lack of grocery stores in a community. If there’s no good food to buy, people buy what is on hand (which usually consists of fast food and convenience store fare) and a full diet of unhealthy food leads to a lot of health problems. Rick Schnieders, the founder of Mogro and a retired Sysco (the largest food distributer in the United States) employee, decided he wanted to help the pueblo communities of New Mexico by starting the mobile food truck company.
When GOOD asked Schnieders why he decided to take up this cause after he was already in retirement he responded, “the real reason we’re doing this is because we love this part of the country. We love the people. It’s an absolute crying need. My wife and I have a biding interest in food, agriculture, and nutrition. And we wanted to see if we could make this work.” Schnieders and his wife staff the truck and run the operations of the business. They have paired up with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to prepare the cooking demonstrations that take place at some of their stops. Though the business is young, they had 100 people turn out at their first stop in Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico — double the amount expected — proving that there is certainly a need, but also a want, for access to healthy food.