Innovative social enterprise brings produce to Chicago’s food deserts

August 12, 2015

Catholic Charities in Chicago started Crisp! Mobile Produce, an innovative social enterprise, to address the issue of food deserts in underserved areas of the city while generating revenue to fund other Catholic Charities food and nutrition programs. Launched in 2013 with a grant from the USDA Farmers Market Promotion program, Crisp! is a mobile grocery that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables right to customer’s doors.

As its primary goals, Crisp! increases fresh produce availability to food deserts areas in Chicago, helps local farmers by using regional products and reducing carbon emissions, and financially supports Catholic Charities nutrition programs. It is also partnered with a youth center to provide healthy snacks for youth after school.

Many communities in Chicago face issues such as food insecurity and lack of access to nutritious food. For many, traveling far from home is simply not possible due to age, disability, or lack of transportation. Crisp! has been a great resource for seniors particularly in winter weather.

Catholic Charities’ Crisp! program has gained support from community members, been recognized by other businesses and organizations in Chicago, and gained recognition in the local media. In an effort to keep healthy options available, Crisp! provides more than 29 million meals annually to Chicagoland residents and their families.

Alongside the support of the community, Crisp! continues to impact Chicago residents and strive for healthier choices in everyday life.

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