Celebrating the grand opening of a mobile market that will bring fresh produce to Lemon Grove, Southeast San Diego, and National City
People’s Produce Mobile Farmers Market, a concept that’s been in the making for years, just hit the road. Project New Village launched the refrigerated truck stocked with local, organic produce Thursday, Sep. 29, 2022, making healthy food more accessible to San Diego’s historically underserved Good Food District.
As well as bringing nutritionally dense food directly to the communities of Lemon Grove, Southeast San Diego, and National City, this farmers market on wheels supports local farmers as much as possible. Project New Village’s Managing Director, N. Diane Moss reports that the goal is to make access to fresh produce as easy and convenient as possible. The truck will serve local transit locations and community gathering places such as trolley lines and the YMCA.
Instead of continuing to hold a weekly farmers market at its Mount Hope Community Garden, Moss and her leadership team envisioned a truck that meets the people where they already are The mobile unit will allow for more markets, more days of the week—making more produce as accessible as possible to the community. Eventually, the team plans for the mobile market to sell other farm products such as eggs, honey, and handcrafted items.
In 2020, PNV purchased the truck from a local company with grant funding from the CA Department of Food and Agriculture as well as private donations. The nonprofit consulted Rafael Garcia, former executive at Daily Harvest Express with over 40 years in finance, to develop a strong business plan, put together an operating budget, and establish accounts with local farms.
One piece of the program’s success lies in creating community enthusiasm toward healthy food, reports Moss. “How do you get people excited about produce? It’s about the story, investing in our own community,” Moss says. In order to do that, Project New Village is planning a series of educational events and social media campaigns to help connect community members to the farmers whose produce will be available. Their first campaign, a weekly spotlight story on a "Featured Farmer" introduces food growers and their story of sustainable farming practices. The People’s Produce Mobile Market has teamed up with local farms such as Stehly Farms, Sage Mountain, San Gabriel Ranch, FoodShed, and others. “Part of our job will be teaching our community an equitable model that supports local farmers and our community’s health. Good, nutritious food isn’t cheap food,” states Moss. The truck will accept WIC, EBT, and SNAP to help subsidize the cost of healthy food.
Weekly markets will be held every Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Operation is scheduled to begin Thursday, September 29, 2022, at two sites in Lemon Grove:
Project New Village is currently seeking to acquire more marketplace sites, and is open to community feedback. Suggestions regarding potential marketplace sites in its service area can be sent to N. Diane Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Living on a Mountain of Hope online and in the fall 2022 issue.