Lyft and the city of Atlanta have launched a pilot program. (Shutterstock)
ATLANTA — Lyft is partnering with the city of Atlanta’s One Atlanta Office to make it easier for families living in Atlanta’s "food deserts" (under-resourced communities) to access nutritious groceries. The pilot program will provide some affected residents with heavily discounted Lyft rideshare credits to nearby farmers markets and grocery stores.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food deserts are defined as low-income communities lacking a one-mile radius to the closest supermarket or grocery store. In a 2017 report, 36% of Atlanta was classified as a food desert. By population in 2018, approximately 128,000 or 25% of Atlanta residents have to travel more than a half-mile to access fresh fruit and vegetables.
For the duration of the six-month pilot, Lyft will provide 300 families with eight rides per month (four trips to and from participating grocery stores) for a flat $2 fee up to $10.
"Everyone should have access to fresh and healthy foods, and we recognize that grocery shopping comes with many challenges in some neighborhoods," said Sam Bond, general manager of Lyft southeast. "We want to help give families access to the healthy foods they need by easing the burden of traveling to food retailers. We’re committed to working towards a future in which Atlanta residents can fully overcome these barriers."
The city is also partnering with Wholesome Wave Georgia, Georgia Farmers Market Association, and Community Farmers Markets, local food markets, and community organizations to overcome fresh food access challenges. Participants in Lyft’s pilot program will be able to take full advantage of the "Georgia Fresh for Less" program administered by Wholesome Wave Georgia, whereby SNAP benefits can be doubled at participating farmers markets.