Fresh fruit and vegetables come to library and school in north St. Louis County

MOLINE ACRES • A mobile farmers' market will set up at the Lewis and Clark library every Thursday through November to bring affordable produce, meal planning and healthy recipe guidance.

The nonprofit St. Louis MetroMarket is a converted city bus that moves around the region to sell fresh food in low-income communities.

The kickoff event at 2 p.m. today will also include the People's Health Center mobile clinic for blood pressure screenings, eye exams and insurance assistance.

The MetroMarket will then visit the library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday.

Last year, MetroMarket sold 8,500 pounds of food at the library at 9909 Lewis and Clark Blvd. in Moline Acres.

“We're happy to partner with St. Louis MetroMarket to address food insecurity in our region," said Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library director, in a statement. "Visits by the MetroMarket will be a convenient way for individuals and families to pick up healthy food after their visit to the library. Parents can pick up books and other library materials, then visit the mobile grocery store to buy healthy produce and get recipe ideas. Helping patrons access healthy food options contributes to the overall success and well-being of our communities.”

The county library system will also offer a free summer lunch program at nine branches starting June 3.

The MetroMarket also makes regular stops at Moline Elementary in the Riverview Gardens School District, where students and staff will build a community orchard on Saturday by planting fruit trees, berries and vegetables.

The 3,000-square-foot orchard will be open to the community year-round.

The project is funded by the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities initiative of the Missouri Foundation for Health to increase access to healthy food.

"This orchard will be a great resource for families throughout our community," said Lisa Thompson, Moline principal, in a statement. "This project, combined with our MetroMarket partnership and school gardens, solidifies Moline’s position as a leader in serving the needs of students and families."

Custom Foodscaping will help volunteers at the planting, which starts at 12 p.m. on Saturday at the school, 9865 Winkler Drive.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Anthony Kiekow at akiekow@rgsd.k12.mo.us.