LIMA — When Mayor David Berger had the chance to bend the ear of a high-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he gave his sales pitch for Lima.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Administrator of Food and Nutrition Audrey Rowe was so impressed she decided to come to Lima to see Activate Allen County’s mobile produce bus.
She and other officials from the agency ventured to Lima to see the bus, which was at Lima Towers on Tuesday where people were buying produce.
Lima resident James Wall told Rowe he really liked the mobile produce bus. He said it gives him a chance to pick up broccoli and other vegetables.
“I told her I come every week when it pulls up in front of the tower,” Wall said.
Rowe said she was touched by the stories she heard from people buying produce.
“One gentleman said to me he would not be able to provide fruits and vegetables for his family without it,” she said.
Rowe said seeing the bus in action and talking with people gives her a first-hand chance to see how it works and will allow her to help Lima officials apply for additional federal resources to help the program.
Berger met Rowe at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in January.
The mobile produce bus began operating in 2013 and has destinations throughout Allen County to bring healthy, affordable produce to residents in the county. It’s part of the Activate Allen County imitative to improve the health of residents in Allen County.
The bus travels three days a week.
Produce comes from vendors that offer the best price and quality, said Gary Bright, head of the West Ohio Food Bank.
The cost of produce on the bus is reduced by 15 percent to 50 percent, Bright said.