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Atlantans in ‘food deserts’ can now qualify for cheap rides to grocers, farmers markets

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Ride-hailing company Lyft is charging as little as $2 per ride for families in underserved communities

a picture of the store’s exterior
The new Whole Foods Market in Midtown.
Whole Foods Market

Ride-hailing company Lyft is launching a program that could help low-income Atlantans more easily access healthy food.

In 2017, 36 percent of Atlanta was made up of “food deserts,” a classification of communities more than a mile from the nearest supermarket or grocery store, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Many families in such underserved areas lack not just proximity to healthy food and fresh produce, but also viable access to vehicles or transit routes, which can contribute to higher rates of obesity.

The six-month program, the result of a partnership between Lyft and the City of Atlanta, will provide 300 Atlanta families with subsidized rides to and from grocery stores and farmers markets.

Eligible families will be able to summon eight Lyfts per month (four roundtrips to and from grocers) for as little as $2 each.

“Everyone should have access to fresh and healthy foods, and we recognize that grocery shopping comes with many challenges in some neighborhoods,” Sam Bond, general manager of Lyft southeast, said in a press release.

Participating families will also be able to utilize the Georgia Fresh for Less program, which allows people to obtain double food-stamps benefits at certain farmers markets.