Do you remember the excitement you felt as a youngster when you heard the familiar jingle coming down the street? That meant one thing: ice cream. What if instead of that nostalgic tune, you heard hip hop and positive rap, and what if instead of anticipating their favorite ice cream cone, kids raced to get their very own bag of sweet snap peas harvested that morning? This grant would fund a delicious endeavor in Fairbanks, AK: the Veggie Truck. In summer 2015 Calypso Farm will establish a new farmers market in a low food access area of Fairbanks in partnership with a community center that will provide the space. The goal of this market is to connect local farmers with local low-income residents. This market will mutually benefit farmers and customers, with no overhead fees for farmers and an opportunity for residents to access fresh, healthy food. The market will have two aspects: the market and the Veggie Truck. 5 to 6 local farmers will set up and sell vegetables at tables while the Veggie Truck stocked with vegetables from each farm drives through the South Cushman area. This is one of the lowest income areas in Fairbanks and it is a food desert with little ‘green space.’ It is populous community with high pedestrian traffic. The Veggie Truck allows people to develop a friendly relationship with local farmers and the delicious fresh food they grow. Both the market and the truck will accept Food Stamps, and customers will be able to pay with cash, credit card, WIC coupons or Quest Card (Food Stamps). People will look forward to a reliable weekly source of fresh food, which will require little to no preparation: imagine bags of snap peas, bunches of carrots and radishes, kale and broccoli! Children living in this area have likely never tasted a fresh Alaskan carrot, garden fresh snap pea or colorful bunch of locally grown radishes. The Veggie Truck will bring these crops more directly to people who don’t otherwise have access to any fresh, locally grown food.
Funded by Alaska (June 2015)