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Ethel Luzario

On Saturday, Dec. 29, Pueblo Magnet High School will host a Market on the Move, a project started by the Phoenix-based 3000 Club that brings fresh produce for purchase to communities in Phoenix and Tucson. According to Ethel Luzario, the co-founder and CEO of the 3000 Club, for just a $10 donation, you can take home up to 60 pounds of fruits and veggies. You just show up; make your donation; and share the produce with friends, family and neighbors in need. The market is from 8 to 11 a.m., at the 3500 S. 12th Ave. school. For more information, go to www.the3000club.org.

How did Market on the Move start?

Lon Taylor, the founder and myself, participated in the third annual AzBiz Green Conference and Expo in Glendale on Oct. 7, 2010. We brought in ... 20 to 40 pounds of watermelon and gave those to the participants. ... We distributed our brochure to bring awareness about the 3000 Club's food rescue and redistribution program. One lady came up and told us that we should name ourselves Market on the Move.

What locations did the market start at?

Two days after that lady suggested the name, we launched our first Market on the Move event at Mekong Plaza in Mesa. For a donation of $10, one can get up to 60 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, which, in turn, they can share with their friends, relatives, next-door neighbors, officemates or anyone they believe is in need. In this event, we collaborated with the Philippine Nurses Association of Arizona, who provided free health screenings to the public. The Market on the Move was introduced in Tucson in early 2011 and started in a private compound of our Tucson executive director and board member, Ester Havey, along Nogales Highway.

Are the partners different in Tucson and Phoenix?

We started collaborating with faith-based and service organizations in 2010, adding elementary and high schools, service and community-based organizations in 2011. For 2012, we have added two high schools in Mesa and Phoenix, whose volunteers are in the culinary curriculum. ... One partnership in 2011 with the undergraduate students of the food-management class from the Nutritional Sciences Department in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was spearheaded by Pat Sparks, one of the faculty members. The students prepared facts on vegetables that come through Market on the Move with information about nutrition, preparation and storage.

Where do the veggies come from?

The produce comes from the various produce brokers in Nogales, Ariz. The rescue efforts are done by the Borderlands Food Bank, with Market on the Move handling its redistribution and marketing in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas.

How did the Pueblo Magnet High School location come up?

Mary Wallace at Pueblo Magnet High School approached (Ester) Havey with an interest to become a market host early last year. At that time, we couldn't do it with them, since there was a host site that is very close to the school. Actually, the first local high school that hosted Market on the Move was Sunnyside High School. They started almost at the same time with Pima Community College.

How many people do you think the market has served in Tucson?

Looking at our statistics for the month of November, we served about 4,000 people who came in to receive produce, which, in turn, they shared with two to three other families, which means it benefited between 8,000 to 12,000 families.

Some folks who love the market have complained it's become too popular.

It became too popular for the simple reason that there is a huge need out there, and we have responded. A majority of the folks have a complete understanding of what our program is all about—that it was meant for sharing with others and not just for their personal consumption. We see people from all walks of life who are currently in transition—unable to be serviced by the food banks and not meeting the required income thresholds—visiting our locations.

How do you decide locations? Do you need folks to volunteer spaces?

We make our decisions based on the site's commitment to have the market as an outreach to their community; a committed and dedicated site coordinator and volunteers; good-size parking; and a good distance from the rest of the market sites.

More by Mari Herreras

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