Though the Fresh Truck's model is new to Boston, this isn't the first time it's been done in the US. The Chicago-based organization Fresh Moves has been operating their own mobile market out of a converted public bus for more than two years, winning citywide praise. Fresh Moves provided the Fresh Truck's cofounders with some early insight into what was needed to pull off a project like this, including how to work with city agencies and how to manage the massive supply of produce needed on a daily basis.
Ultimately, providing food for these communities is only half the battle. The real challenge, Trautwein says, is in supplementing their stock with information on healthy eating.
"Someone at the [Charlestown] Health Center said they were handing out free fruits and vegetables, and somebody didn't know how to prepare a carrot," Trautwein says. "I don't think it's that [people] don't want to eat healthy; it's just that they don't have the opportunity in our current food ecosystem."
CONNECTING THE DOT
The Fresh Truck isn't the only local food-access project on a roll. The Dorchester Winter Farmers' Market — Boston's first winter farmers' market to accept SNAP and EBT payments — kicked off its second season in January, bringing fresh local produce, meat, cheese, and baked goods (not to mention food trucks, cooking demos, and live entertainment) to the Codman Square Health Center. The market continues every Sunday from noon to 4 pm through March 24, but the organizers aren't stopping there. Their long-term goal: improve access to affordable, healthy food by creating the Dorchester Community Food Co-op, a member-owned market that will also offer space for education and cultural activities. It's slated to open in late 2014, but they've already got 200-plus member-owners on board. Sign up and learn more at dotcommcoop.wordpress.com.
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