Mobile Market: How Can Fresh Truck Bring Healthy Food To Communities

Fresh Trucks are retrofitted school buses with a new purpose: to bring fresh food to communities so households have access to healthy food.

Written by: Sophia Young

It is no secret that eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the key to a healthy diet. However, over the years, access to good quality produce has become more and more difficult. The costs of fruits and vegetables, especially in urban areas, have become expensive, making it harder for people in these communities to afford them. But duo Josh Trautwein and Annika Morgan aimed to change that. 

What is a Fresh Truck?

This initiative all started when co-founder Joshua Trautwein was a community health worker. When the only grocery store in the neighborhood he served closed down, he began to understand just how serious food accessibility was an issue to the health and diet of people. He started About Fresh, the social enterprise pioneering Fresh Truck, after not being able to find healthy food sources for the families of that neighborhood.

Fresh Trucks are retrofitted school buses with a new purpose: to bring fresh food to communities so households can have access to healthy food. The trucks park in the same locations in low-income neighborhoods with fresh fruits and vegetables.

How Fresh Truck is Making Healthy Food Accessible to Communities

About Fresh tackles three key focus areas: the retail access people have to healthy food, their purchasing power, and the culture and built environment that influences people’s beliefs and attitudes toward food. They acknowledge how food and culture are strongly intertwined and they try to uplift the full diversity of food cultures represented in the city, especially a health-centered culture food.

The Fresh Truck mobile market model takes into account the neighborhood they are serving. They track the inventory to ensure that they are offering not only fresh produce but food that people in that neighborhood want to buy. Keeping diversity in mind, they carry cultural staples like mangoes, yuca, and plantains. The prices of their produce are also cheaper than those in retail grocery stores. 

Chief program officer and co-founder of Fresh Truck, Annika Morgan, sites how their East Boston location takes two extra cases of plantains because those sell out quickly, considering how it has a significant Hispanic population. 

Instead of having conversations about foods that are “bad,” the social enterprise focuses on how “healthy food has you at your best” as their message. 

As of the moment, About Fresh has two programs to address their key focus areas. Fresh Trucks are the most visible, with their weekly markets. To keep it consistent with the neighborhoods they are serving, they stop at the same place, at the same time, every week, all year round. 

For those who enjoy the convenience of stress-free grocery delivery services, About Fresh also offers the Fresh Truck Online Market. People can pre-order their produce, pay with any of their supported payment methods, and pick it up at their preferred location. 

Fresh Truck can also be a part of your food and health-focused community events, the truck chock-full of fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables for the attendees.

To better support households or individuals struggling with food insecurity, About Fresh has also created the Fresh Connect program. When social service agencies, healthcare providers, social workers, or even teachers recognize anyone in their community struggling, they can, as the name suggests, connect these people to About Fresh. 

The program has a Fresh Connect card that the provider can sign up for that person. After they have completed the enrollment on the web-based platform, the card is mailed to that person. 

The Fresh Connect card enables the holder to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables across About Fresh’s network of retailers, including the online Fresh Truck market. To make it easier upon checkout, the cost of the approved healthy foods is automatically drawn down at the point of sale. The data gathered from these sales can also be used to analyze whether or not there are positive health-related trends connected to Fresh Truck shopping and the Fresh Connect program engagement. 

Why Access to Fresh Produce is Essential

Food plays a vital role in our health. It not only affects the physical health of the community but their mental health as well. It is estimated that food is responsible for a trillion dollars worth of direct and indirect healthcare costs. Unfortunately, the food system has had huge discrepancies in the accessibility of healthy options. 

Food insecurity is just the tip of the iceberg of the myriad of challenges that people face. Deeper underlying issues like income inequality, minimum wage, poverty, and housing instability make it difficult for people to access food, even more so healthier options that can better sustain them. Social enterprises like About Fresh are looking to find that balance that can uplift these sectors, meeting their right-now needs while also addressing those deeper-rooted issues. 

While it is not a magic pill to solve all of the community’s issues, providing access to healthy food is a key step to helping them. The more they can better fuel themselves with the necessary nutrients to take on the day, the more their quality of life changes for the better. 

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Best Food Trucks in New York – Updated 2021

These top picks for 2021’s best food trucks in New York are road-tested, critically-acclaimed, and adored by fans. The best part? They’re all available for food truck catering!

In the city that never sleeps, the best food trucks in New York are always on the move. Check out the ones that reign supreme in 2021, delivering local flavors and setting national trends.

BEST TACO FOOD TRUCK: CARLITOS BARBECUE TAQUERIA 

Carlitos Barbecue Taqueria strives to create a culture of food, family, and friends by celebrating the rich histories of Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex street eats. They serve USDA prime meats smoked low and slow in-house and homemade, gluten-free tortillas made with all-natural ingredients and hand-pressed to order.

What makes them the best: Chicken, pulled pork, carne asada, brisket, and more Carlitos tacos, platos, and sides are bursting with flavor. At Carlitos Barbecue Taqueria, every day is Taco Tuesday.

BEST GREEK TRUCK: UNCLE GUSSY’S

There are two things Uncle Gussy’s does better than the rest: cooking authentic Greek dishes and serving generous portions. Uncle Gussy’s fresh, fast-casual Greek food truck serves food made with fresh ingredients imported directly from Greece. When you indulge in their gyros, souvlakis, salads, or Greek fries, your tastebuds travel on an adventure across the Greek isles.  

What makes them the best: Their reputation precedes them. As a Vendy Award finalist, Uncle Gussy’s has been seen nationwide on Fox News, CNN, and Food Network. Serving must-haves like premium meat platters and homemade tzatziki, it is easy to discover why Uncle Gussy’s is a fan-favorite.

BEST BURGER FOOD TRUCK: SHAKE SHACK

Shake Shack is a Route 66-style burger joint in the heart of New York, known for its classic all-American fare. From burgers to creamy milkshakes, Shake Shack’s humble beginnings as a food cart is now an international QSR chain. 

What makes them the best: Unlike most well-known burger spots, Shake Shack’s Shack Truck will come to you. Their food truck is perfect for catering your game-day gathering or backyard barbecue.

BEST ASIAN-FUSION FOOD TRUCK: BIG D’S GRUB

Asian-fusion cuisine has been the most popular culinary trend for some time, but no one’s doing it like Big D’s Grub. Growing up in Queens, Dennis Kum took the flavors of Guyana, the American South, and China and made it his own. Whether mix-and-match tacos, grinders, rice platters, or breakfast-on-the-go, Big D’s menu has something for everyone. 

What makes them the best: Big D’s Grub is famous for its bulgogi tacos, and once you savor a bite, you’ll know why. Beef marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and served with kimchi, scallion relish, and cool crema pack a flavorful punch.

BEST PIZZA FOOD TRUCK: ABEETZ

The best pizza in the pizza capital of America? Look no further than New York’s Abeetz. Since 2016, this wood-fired pizza truck is pleasing pizza connoisseurs’ appetites with traditional slices and unique creations. Abeetz’s New York-style, thin-crust pizza is baked in an Italian-imported gold-tiled brick oven. Look no further than this amazing pizza food truck

What makes them the best: At Abeetz, you can let your imagination run wild. Try a classic Margherita or the “Bae,” Abeetz’s take on a New York-style bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. One bite, and you’ll know why Abeetz won “Best Food Truck in Westchester” only six months after opening.

BEST ETHIOPIAN FOOD TRUCK: MAKINA CAFE

New York’s Makina Cafe brings Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisines to the Five Boroughs. Named one of the best food trucks in New York last year by The Infatuation, Makina Cafe, its big yellow food truck, and chef Eden G. Egziabher have won rave reviews and is one of NYC’s most popular food destinations. 

What makes them the best: Who doesn’t like a vacation without the stress of leaving home? Makina Cafe’s dishes like chicken tibs, injera bread, and sambusas blend exotic flavors with an American-friendly twist that’s simply delicious.

BEST EMPANADA FOOD TRUCK: NUCHAS

Empanadas may be hand-held snacks, but don’t let their size fool you because packed inside is a lot of deliciousness. New York’s Nuchas believes good things come in small packages, and their American-made but Argentian-inspired empanadas are beloved across America. Nuchas is also a Vendy Award-winning food truck for “Rookie of the Year” and “People’s Taste.”

What makes them the best: Short ribs, spicy chicken, Italian sausage? Sign us up! Nuchas’ empanadas are gourmet eats on-the-go. And their Vegan options like Portobello and Shitake Curry mean no appetite is left behind.

BEST DESSERT FOOD TRUCK: BAONANAS

Banana pudding is a New York favorite, and the beloved dessert is getting a makeover from #Baonanas. This Jersey City-based food truck is whipping up the best banana pudding. Each bite from their over 30 different flavors is filled with a variety of delicious toppings. Skip the store-bought cakes and pies and let #Baonanas cater your next event with the most decadent dessert you’ll find across the GWB. 

What makes them the best: While fluffy banana pudding sounds heavenly, #Baonanas kicks things up a notch with mouthwatering flavors. If you can’t choose between S’mores, Lychee-Rose, or Coco-Cookie, we suggest you try them all!

BEST HEALTHY FOOD TRUCK: EXOTIC BOWLS

Food that’s equal parts delicious and healthy? It’s no lie, and Exotic Bowls’ açaí bowls, smoothies, and bubble teas are just as good as they are good for you. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, Exotic Bowls is at the crossroads where health and wellness meet fresh flavors. And, Exotic Bowls is a personal favorite of Nicole Berrie, founder of the popular health and wellness company Bonberi

What makes them the best: Exotic Bowls goes big and bold with its menu and customizable toppings. Whether you want to eat more superfoods or satisfy your sweet tooth, Exotic Bowls serves the good stuff that’ll power you through your day.

 

CATERING FROM THE BEST FOOD TRUCKS IN NEW YORK

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