Veggie Rescue activated their first prototype for a mobile solar cooler to serve the Pilgrim Terrace Senior Community and refrigerate their CSA tower garden and community garden veggies.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the mobile solar cooler moved to Los Alamos to support the Los Alamos Foundation’s weekly food distribution program, serving approximately 100 families per week.
The design was refined to increase the reliability of refrigeration and to create a template for future units. This second iteration is built on a 12-foot trailer and powered by the sun. A plug-in option was added so that the unit could be recharged on cloudy days.
The Good Samaritan Bridge House Emergency shelter agreed to host the mobile solar cooler for a shared delivery point for several free meal programs around Lompoc. Brian Halterman, the Bridge House Executive Director, helped Veggie Rescue connect with local churches and small nonprofits that do not have the facilities to receive food from Veggie Rescue or the food bank, but who serve the housing and food insecure community members every week. The food delivered by Veggie Rescue was also available to Good Samaritan Case Workers to take to their recently housed clients who are living in transitional housing.
Currently, Prototype 2 is being retrofitted to add additional solar panels using a wing concept, increase the ability to cool 24/7, and maintain temperatures through days of overcast weather.
Future Plans for Activation: Creating a replicable model
By piloting these prototypes, Veggie Rescue hopes to be able to further refine the design and build process to create an efficient and effective mobile solar cooler template that can be replicated to serve Santa Barbara County – and beyond.