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MAP Mobile Market provides healthy options in Buffalo’s low-income neighborhoods

Nicolette Sarvis spent the first half of the summer singing the praises of locally grown fruits and vegetables at the produce stand at the Massachusetts Avenue Project’s Growing Green Mobile Market. The Corfu native, a MAP intern who will finish the University at Buffalo’s dietetics program later this year, also passed along recipes to people in several moderate- to low-income Buffalo neighborhoods who have come to depend on the traveling farm market this time of year.

“I like the structure of dietetics,” said Sarvis, 22, who holds a bachelor’s in culinary nutrition from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I.. “I like helping people.”

Q. What are some of the grad school classes you’ve taken?

They include energy and protein metabolism - it focuses on the food pathways and metabolism of carbs and proteins, vitamin and mineral metabolism, nutrition assessment and pathophysiology of nutrition-related diseases - that is an overview of how nutrition impacts certain diseases: osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, liver diseases, diabetes.

Q. What were some of the more common recipes you shared and some of the more popular produce the Mobile Market sold.

In the last couple of weeks, we had some kohlrabi. It’s close to a cabbage. You cook it like you would cook a potato, and it kind of tastes like the stem of a broccoli but not as strong. There was a recipe in the MAP newsletter to cook it with sweet yams that we also had on the stand. I like to pickle kohlrabi and put it in salad. It’s like a less spicy radish. I also talk to people on the stand about making kale chips.

Q. What were the most surprising things you’ve discovered over the last few weeks?

How much people rely on MAP for their weekly groceries. ... Really common is a lack of transport to grocery stores and financial means. I feel great because we accept almost all forms of payment.

Q. What do you wish most people knew about MAP, its work and the nutritional needs of those on the West Side and other parts of the City of Buffalo?

About all of the youth programs it offers during school and the summer. We educate customers at the Mobile Market but also kids in the neighborhood and on the West Side. Then they can tell their parents and their friends about it. I also wish they knew how influential MAP is on the youth on the West Side. The opportunities they create are really great.

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