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Farmers' Market on Wheels
Features - Farmers and Markets
Written by Michelle Lahey   

Snappy asparagus, juicy tomatoes, plump, sweet cherries – it’s easy to enjoy the taste of fresh, seasonal produce. Unfortunately, despite the abundance of it we have here in Boston, there are still some neighborhoods that don’t have access to any of it. Thankfully, a group of locals are hoping to change that – with a farmers’-market-meets-food-truck.

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Daniel Clarke and Josh Trautwein – both Northeastern grads - recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for their invention, Fresh Truck (you can learn about the rest of the Fresh Truck team here). Their goal was to raise $30,000 in order to bring healthy food to the communities that need it most, in bus form. Not surprisingly, Clarke and Trautwein reached their goal, and plan to deliver their first busload of goods in April or May.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to eat healthy and be well,” Clarke said.

Trautwein originally got the idea for Fresh Truck while working for the Fitzgerald Youth Sports Institute at the Charlestown MGH Healthcare Center.  For many of the families Trautwein encountered, it took at least 45 minutes to get to a grocery store, leaving them to shop at corner store markets with limited selections. The time and money it took to travel to grocery stores or farmers’ markets prevented a lot of them from having access to fresh produce and healthier foods. 

fresh truck

After doing more research, Trautwein and Clarke discovered that this issue of accessibility was widespread throughout Boston. They also came to realize the striking correlation between “food deserts” and diet-related health issues.

“A lot of what we’re looking to do is work with health centers…and have patients come on the bus and interact with food,” Clarke said. 

Fresh Truck’s number one goal is to ensure the healthy food they’ll be providing to lower-income communities is affordable, but without compromising quality. 

“We are trying to get everything as local as possible,” Clarke said.

Of course, items like bananas and rice can’t be sourced locally, but Clarke’s hope is to compensate with as many organic items as possible.  Most of all, Clarke and Trautwein want to sell grocery items that their target consumers can recognize and easily incorporate into their daily meals, while also being friendly on the wallet. 

“[We want] to be as impactful as possible when we start out,” Clarke said. 

So impactful, in fact, that Fresh Truck won’t just be selling food. Another goal of the truck is to educate kids and families in these communities on why eating healthy is essential. Eventually, cooking demonstrations will also be conducted on the bus to show their customers how to incorporate the products they’re buying in simple, healthy recipes.

“[We want to] have a celebration around healthy food,” Clarke said.

The Fresh Truck will also be bold and vibrant in color, but not only to attract adult consumers. The hope is that the bright, engaging colors will get kids excited about the concept, and make it fun for them to learn about healthy foods and why it’s important to eat them.

Because they’re still in the early stages of planning, Clarke and Trautwein are still looking for groups and organizations that support their mission. Anyone who’s interested in learning more can visit their website at thefreshtruck.org. Before their spring launch, a schedule of where the bus will be and when will also be posted.

 

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