This past Saturday, August 25th, members of IIT’s Freedom By Design chapter spent the day tearing apart an old CTA bus. Now I am unsure of how you spend your Saturday mornings but some good ole’ elbow grease, sweat, and volunteering for a revolutionary organization is how I spent mine.
Fresh Moves is a non-profit organization that works to solve the issue of the food desert in the Chicago Land area by re-purposing dis-continued CTA buses.
So what is a food desert you might ask. Well, it is an issue that urban centers have found difficult to deal with, a problem in which communities have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This results in traveling long distances and at great cost to retrieve these vital resources. Deficiencies arise and health issue relate due to a poor diet.
Solving this problem is more difficult than contacting markets and advocating for locations to open up in undeserved areas. With cost of land high and space limited the typical grocers we are used to cannot branch to these areas in need. The solution? Put the market on wheels and make it mobile! Ingenious!!!
A partnership with Architecture for Humanity (AFH) arose and the transformation of the first bus into the one isle mobile market took place and launched its pilot year. After much success another bus conversion was planned and the “build day” was scheduled for August 25, 2012. Being extremely passionate about projects supported by AFH and the mission of Fresh Moves I figured I would help out.
Showing up the day of I really wasn’t sure what to expect. We were greeted by not one but TWO buses, tripling the fleet for next season. After a day of hard work and getting dirty I will never look at a CTA bus the same.