In summer 2016, CHSC did a pilot launch of the Veggie Van, a mobile farmers market that provided residents of Niagara Falls and Lackawanna with direct access to fruits and vegetables, many of whom have limited access to fresh produce.
The Veggie Van first launched on August 19th in Niagara Falls, and on September 1st in Lackawanna. Once a week the Veggie Van would go to the two designated locations and sell fresh produce. Not only did the Veggie Van sell fresh produce at market price, our staff were also accepting both cash and EBT payments.
The city of Niagara Falls and Lackawanna are considered food deserts—areas where residents have limited access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods. The Veggie Van helped combat hunger and reduce food insecurity by traveling to these designated areas where community members do not have a grocery store nearby.
Most of the food sold was locally sourced from farms in western New York, which encouraged residents to “eat local”. Locally grown produce is full of flavor because it spends less time in transit on the way to being sold. Eating locally also support local farms while advancing the economy in western New York.
The six-week pilot program has been a great success, with over $3,000 worth of fresh produce sold over seven weeks and servicing approximately 80 residents per week. Next year, CCE-Niagara is hoping to expand the program by bringing the Veggie Van to more sites in the community, and to expand its program to operate for the entire summer of 2017.
Last updated February 24, 2017