Cummins Grants to Help Create Mobile Grocery Markets to Counter Food Deserts

Sep 21, 2022 9:30 AM ET

Global power leader Cummins Inc. has committed $800,000 in grant funding to develop and launch mobile grocery markets to combat the impact of food deserts in six cities with a significant company presence.

The grants are part of Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity (CARE), the company initiative focused on dismantling institutional racism and creating system equity in the United States. The cities included in the mobile grocery effort are Indianapolis, Indiana; Jamestown, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

The United States is one of the richest nations in the world, yet about 10.5%, or 13.8 million Americans experience food insecurity, which is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 19 million Americans or 33% live in a food desert, which the USDA defines as living more than one mile away from a supermarket for urban areas, or greater than 10 miles for rural areas.

In communities of color and low-income areas, many residents don’t have cars, and in many cases lack reliable public transportation. Additionally, while many urban communities have small neighborhood stores within a reasonable distance, residents pay up to 37% more than suburban communities where residents have access to larger supermarkets.

A mobile grocery provides healthy food options by modifying school buses, city buses, large vans, trucks, and more to house healthy food options and transport them to needed neighborhoods. Mobile grocery markets are often run by local organizations, which circulate revenue within the local economy and can serve as a catalyst for other businesses and investments in the neighborhoods. The mobility allows outreach to multiple neighborhoods and can be more effective than storefronts.

Within the six CARE communities, Cummins’ Community Involvement Teams known within the company as CITs will work closely with local partners to support mobile grocery efforts and drive impact.

In 2020, Cummins introduced Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity. CARE is working in four specific areas: police reform, criminal justice reform, economic empowerment, and social justice reform. Cummins is committed to the kind of long-term approach necessary to effectively address issues like institutional racism and systemic inequity.