Food trucks aren’t known for having the healthiest fare, but in Camden, NJ, where fresh foods are scarce, there is a new Mobile Market that sells locally grown fruits and vegetables at bargain prices. At their Launch Party on May 8, the Camden Fresh Mobile Market program set up a mini farmer’s market at Mickle Towers, a senior home where most residents have difficulty accessing fresh food without help from their families. Thanks to Mobile Market’s refrigerated trailer, residents had their pick of fresh asparagus, strawberries, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, eggs, and more right where they live.
The program also strives to be educational, helping people learn “what they can do with the produce and with things that are grown nearby that they’ve never seen,” said CCGC Executive Director Mike Devlin. Much of the produce is bought wholesale from the Camden City Garden Club’s Urban Farm on 3rd and Beckett Streets, as well as a CCGC board member’s farm in Sewell, NJ, Duffield’s Farm. CCGC, through their USDA Entrepreneurial Gardening Program, is also enabling Camden Community Gardeners to sell their surplus harvest to the Mobile Market to make a profit.
The Mobile Market was funded by a $63,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. Its partners include NJ Senator Donald Norcross, county and city officials from Camden, and the NJ Department of Agriculture. The Mobile Market program is operated by the Camden City Garden Club, which also runs the Camden Children’s Garden CCGC manages 120 community gardens in Camden and produces $2.3 million worth of produce each year, feeding 12% of the city’s population.
The Mobile Market plans to make stops at various community centers and housing facilities. “We’re going to go to the people,” said Mike Devlin. Tracy Nyszczot, of Camden Children’s Garden Public Relations explains that the Mobile Market program “will establish a key contact with each organization/housing area at each stop that will provide a handout flyer in English / Spanish to advise when we are coming.” Interested Camden Residents can sign up for the email list at http://bit.ly/11fpfBp. A finalized scheduled will be available here: http://camdenchildrensgarden.wordpress.com/mobile-market.