Can Mobile Markets Work?

There has been a lot of talk about how to get healthy food to people that can’t get to the market. Mobile markets are one method, and are not a new idea – as can be seen in these images. Denver tried it in the 1970’s as a way to reach seniors and Los Angeles used retrofitted buses to reach into the new tract suburbs – food deserts in their day, I suppose.

One of the methods we like to address food access is ‘peddlers’ who would buy at a central farmers market and then drive around and resell in neighborhoods off the back of trucks. The idea would be to employ students from the neighborhoods where the food will be sold, so they have a connection into the economics of the market system. There is soemthing not quite right about addressing food security without addressing poverty and lack of inclusion in a system that aims to solve the problem. We are going to try and pilot this system in Birmingham, Alabama and will use the Finley Market (the big central market this is owned and operated by the ‘truck’ farmers) as the origin point. The students will be taught how to buy and sell, learn about cooking and agriculture and gain some basic business education while helping their fellow citizens.

February 1, 2011