Local Food: Getting Fresh, Healthy Produce Into The Bronx
For a couple of years, I have thought that getting food to communities in other ways than a Saturday farmers market would be successful. Some people can’t get to a market. Maybe they don’t have a car, and the market is not within walking distance. Maybe there is no public transportation. Lots of people work on Saturdays, too. I thought a daily delivery (or at least several days a week) to remote or isolated neighborhoods could help those folks out.
Tanya Fields of the Bronx had that same idea, and she implemented it in her neighborhood, Hunts Point, with the BLK Projek. The NYC Department of Health says this area of the city has the highest incidence of diabetes and obesity, causing unnecessary illness and death.
She is working in conjunction with the Wassaic Community Farm (WCF) upstate. They donated an old school bus, which she painted it in bright colors. She put in a music system, so it sounds like the ice cream truck is coming down the road! It runs on recycled cooking oil, and future plans include solar panels in the future. It’s a true work of sustainability!
Sourcing local produce
Tanya sources produce from WCF, Corbin Hill Farm in Harlem, which is somewhat of a food hub for small upstate farms, and other local, urban farms. Not only does she increase access to fresh food for people who need and want it, but as a food activist, she also educates people about eating right, food justice and our broken food system.
Expansion includes the hiring of employees and creating other jobs by supporting local and urban farms. Tanya already has a free or low-cost meal served in an easily accessible location every quarter. This brings people together as a community and serves a need for low-income residents.
Mobile markets are popping up around the country for the same reason – people who need to eat (and that is all of us!) have a right to fresh food. It takes someone who cares about people, health and small farms to gain the support for such a great project.
Other cities with mobile markets are Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans. Who knows how many small communities have them? They need to make the news, too!
Supporting mobile markets
Funding is available through the USDA Farmer’s Market Promotion Program. If you have the drive to create a mobile market anywhere in the country, look into it! Farmers love to grow and distribute food. They are so happy to see people eat well. You can help combat serious health issues, too, and maybe turn your community around as far as how people feel about food.
Get updates about The BLK Projek on Facebook, too! If you can donate, please do! Tanya is running on donations until the market can feed itself.