Providing food access and closing the food system loop through Community Supported Agriculture.
Route One Farmers Market is preparing to launch a Mobile Farmers MarketMobile Farmers Market: Mobile produce markets, mobile farmers markets’ or fresh food carts travel to multiple neighborhoods to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, operating on a set schedule so residents know when they can shop. Mobile markets can be created from buses, trucks, vans, carts, or any other vehicle with space to display produce. Truck that will serve Lompoc five days a week. This innovative approach to building regional food system infrastructureFood System Infrastructure: Food infrastructure is the foundation required for the production, processing, storage, distribution, retailing, consumption, and waste management of food within the local food system. will strengthen the local foodshedFood System: The food system encompasses how food moves from farms to tables. It includes farmers and the farmland on which food is grown, manufacturers and processors, distributors – from truckers to grocery stores to food banks – and all residents as consumers. It also incorporates the inputs needed and outputs generated at each step, including food waste. by providing growers with a platform for local sales while improving the affordability of fresh produce for low-income communities. The concept for this direct-to-consumer modelDirect-to-Consumer Model: Direct-to-consumer is a model of sales where food producers sell directly to end customers. was born out of a desire to reduce common barriers to accessing farmers’ markets, such as limited transportation, inconvenient scheduling, affordability, or not accepting nutrition assistance program benefits. “When we are talking about local food access in particular mobile markets are one of the best solutions because of their flexibility. We can identify and prioritize neighborhoods where the need for food access is the highest and adapt to be available at the right time for communities.” Shelby Wild, Executive Director of Route One Farmers Market.
In 2020, Route One Farmers Market received a Food System Resilience Grant from the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network. With funds secured through the Lompoc Valley Community Health Care Organization and the CDFA Healthy Refrigeration Grant, the Mobile Farmers Market was purchased in February of 2022. Since then they have completed the truck build, hired a mobile market manager, begun contracting with weekly host sites such as the Lompoc Public Health Clinic, and attended several outreach events to raise community awareness about their work. Route One Farmers Market plans to source from all the farmers at their stationary Sunday market and pick up produce every Sunday. Route One’s Mobile Farmers market will create a regional distribution channel for farmers that gives them direct access to consumers without taking labor away from the farm and bolsters the local economy since most of the profits will return to the hands of farmers.
Route One Mobile Farmers Market is also a member of the FRESA working group, which seeks to address food insecurity through coalition building and by increasing CalFresh access in North County. The mobile market will expand access to affordable, fresh foods by accepting Calfresh/EBT BenefitsCalfresh Program: Known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, provides monthly food benefits to individuals and families with low-income and provides economic benefits to communities.. Their goal is to make it easier for our local farmers to reach North County customers and for CalFresh recipients to take advantage of Market Match to make their dollars go further when purchasing fresh food. All fruits and vegetables will be affordable, and they hope to offer a 50% discount to customers who receive or are enrolled in support programs similar to other mobile farmers market models.
Route One Mobile Farmers Market is also actively involved in the Lompoc Community Food Hub Project. Once it is up and running, they intend to host nutrition education classes to teach the community about food waste prevention and how to take advantage of what’s growing down the street from you affordably.
Stay updated about this new Mobile Market Truck by following Route One Farmers Market on social media and find out if you are eligible to receive EBT/Market Match benefits.