Food Strategy Update: The Mobile Good Food Market

There is a new food market in Toronto: the Mobile Good Food Market. A green grocer on wheels, it is selling affordable fresh fruit and vegetables to neighbourhoods that otherwise don’t have easy access to fresh food.

The project is a partnership between Toronto Public Health (the Food Strategy team), FoodShare Toronto, United Way Toronto, and the Food Policy Research Initiative (CAMH / University of Toronto). The truck was launched in January 2012 and began its pilot season in July after extensive consultation with local communities and an analysis of food access gaps. Leveraging FoodShare’s existing warehouse operations, including its 18-year relationship with Super Select Produce Buyers at the Ontario Food Terminal, the Mobile Good Food Market sells fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. The Toronto Food Strategy, United Way, and the Food Policy Research Initiative provide in-kind support, opening doors to make the project a success and evaluating the viability and effects of the model. 

 

Background:

A significant number of Torontonians face economic and geographic barriers to accessing healthy and culturally appropriate food on a regular basis. While low income is the biggest barrier, many also live in neighbourhoods that have few quality and affordable food retail options within easy walking distance, along with relatively poor access to public transit. Even individuals in areas that are well served by healthy food retail can face challenges, especially seniors, newcomers, those with disabilities and single parents with young children

One solution is to promote innovative food access options. Thanks to funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, in 2012 Toronto Public Health (Food Strategy, FoodShare Toronto, United Way Toronto, and the Food Policy Research Initiative (CAMH / University of Toronto) launched the Mobile Good Food Market.

The project is in line with Toronto Public Health’s Food Strategy priorities identified in the 2010 Food Connections Report (including supporting food friendly neighbourhoods and making food a centerpiece of Toronto’s new green economy).  The Food Strategy team identified mobile produce vending as a food access intervention with the potential to 1) improve access to fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate and convenient produce throughout Toronto, and 2) to improve the current regulatory environment surrounding mobile produce vending in Toronto. 

 The Mobile Good Food Market in the news:

“An Oasis in Food Deserts” in Spacing Magazine

A Short CBC news report on the Mobile Good Food Market

 ”A socially conscious food truck fad” in Grid TO

“Toronto mobile produce truck: fresh produce to poor areas” in The Star