On the move: Jamestown’s mobile market expands with new van | News, Sport, Work

Jamestown’s public and mobile market recently received a grant from the Cummins Foundation that enabled the organization to purchase a decommissioned Penske van. The new truck allowed the mobile market to expand and provide food to residents in “low-access areas”. Photo sent

Jamestown’s public and mobile market recently received a $ 35,000 grant from the National Cummins Foundation.

The rev. Luke Fodor, a board member, said the Jamestown Mobile Market provides fresh, healthy produce to neighborhoods that don’t have local grocery stores and produce stalls.

Throughout the city there are poor communities where residents do not have fresh local produce within a mile of their residence. According to the mobile market, a “Area with low access to food” describes an area where over 30% of residents live more than a mile from a grocery store, farmer’s market, or fresh produce supplier.

“These little food deserts we have are actually not natural”, Fodor said. “This is considered a food apartheid region.”

For the past two years, the Mobile Market has used a donated car and trailer to bring food to low-food access areas in the Jamestown community. After successfully operating in the region, the mobile market applied for a grant from the Cummins Foundation, which provided the financial resources needed to purchase a decommissioned Penske van.

“The National Cummins Foundation has decided to be very interested in working with some kind of next model for community development around food and food insecurity,” Fodor said. “Cummins was clear they wanted to think differently about the food system and how we could provide better resources for our community.”

Fodor explained that food pantries became popular in the 1970s when the United States experienced high inflation and communities were concerned about people’s ability to support themselves. Although food pantry was originally designed as a temporary solution, Fodor said the food pantry model has remained popular in communities over the years.

However, unlike the traditional food pantry format, the Jamestown Mobile Market offers residents the ability to choose their product options in various locations around the city on certain days of the week. Throughout the summer, the new mobile market van has been delivering vegetables to people in places that wouldn’t normally deliver fresh produce.

“Instead of being gifted with goods, which is often the way food kitchens work, this is kind of a more customer-centric interface,” Fodor said. “We buy local vegetables from local farmers and sell them directly to the people so they can choose what they want. I think it really gives people dignity as they go out and can use the resources at their disposal. “

The Cummins Foundation has expressed interest in the food model of the mobile market, providing the necessary funding for the organization to expand its program by purchasing a larger vehicle that can hold more products.

To incentivize people to eat more vegetables, Fodor said the mobile market often sells products below the mid-market rate. In addition to offering the products at an affordable price, the Mobile Market works in conjunction with other support programs. For example, the Chautauqua Center has a “Vegetarian recipe” program supported by the mobile market.

“They have an agreement with us where they write the recipe, tell us who the person is and that person can come to the market and pick vegetables for free”, Fodor said. “It’s a really great way to make an impact on the community.”

The mobile marketplace also accepts SNAP benefits, allowing residents to use the benefits of food assistance to purchase fresh vegetables. Additionally, the mobile market is partnering with Buffalo’s Field and Fork Foundation to provide a “double up” program that allows community members to double their assigned SNAP benefits.

The mobile market works with two local farmers to supply the products, relaunching the local economy and annually expanding the growth capacity of farmers thanks to the activities of the mobile market.

Jamestown Mobile Market has also entered into a contract with the Chautauqua County Aging Office to provide fresh vegetables to the elderly.

“We are thrilled with this partnership”, Fodor said. “The Office for the Aging has a contract with us because we now have this truck to drive to various senior housing facilities outside Jamestown as well.”

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