Thanks to new NYC friends Anna and Manuel of Zago for sending this. Whenever I see an article on mobile markets, a few questions immediately come to mind, here are some in no particular order:
• How can people use these initiatives to leverage good food coming into their area more regularly? Has there been an example of a mobile truck initiative that led to food security? It would seem to me that if paired with some other food and social initiatives either in concert or in succession, this might be a powerful tool.
• Has anyone figured out a good business model yet? I believe that there is one out there, yes have not read of it yet.
Possibly using it as a simultaneous delivery mechanism for middle or upper income food orders might help offset the costs.
Or maybe mobile trucks can be a meal service that offers healthy food also as healthy prepared meals sent out just before and during non-traditional meal times (for those working people with typically odd work schedules) at low prices, along with some information. Sort of a combination of the food truck with the mobile market.
Or one of those ideas on our “someday” list at my last organization in New Orleans-to create a “useful” mobile market with non-food items like paper products, juice, simple hardware items etc along with those food items.
• Along those lines, is this type of thing best used as a temporal idea that to begin to promote good food and to gather initial data to then get the area to the next more permanent idea or is there a long term strategy as to their use?
• Finally, when farmers sell to these outlets, does it increase their reach or decrease it? In other words, have farmers begun to grow or make products just for these endeavors or are they taking products from other outlets? And if they have added this to their sales reach, is it financially viable for them to do so? And from the standpoint of the organizers, are many of these using their very mobility to share gleaned or seconds from those market farmers that these mobile trucks can reach easily and in some quantity on market day?
or as Manuel eloquently wrote in the conversation we had via email around this topic:
One of the biggest challenges for me when thinking about scale and community, especially when thinking about underserved urban populations, is the problem of density and offerings. The smaller and more challenged the environment the more difficult is to build volume, presence and relevance.
I look forward to the continuing conversation around this idea and connecting these initiatives to market organizations whenever applicable.