With the end of market season in sight, I can now say with certainty that we've accomplished a lot this first year, and that our mobile farmers' market bus is more than just a vehicle schlepping local, sustainably grown foods.
After months of reliable, high-quality service, Arcadia's Mobile Market has become a place where strangers living on the same street have become neighbors; where new and expecting mothers receive brief lessons on nutrition and learn the merits of breastfeeding; where food assistance recipients can stretch their benefits twice as far, thanks to our "Bonus Bucks" program. Recipes are exchanged by both staff and customers. Questions about sustainable farming practices and the impact these have on the local food system are frequently asked and honestly answered. Health concerns are shared, and personal progresses on these issues are regularly reported.
Benjamin and I have celebrated the acquisition of a job for one customer, witnessed the growth of another's newborn, and eagerly anticipated the weekly updates of one regular's kindergartner's first year of schooling.
In my own life, working on the Mobile Market has made me physically stronger, broadened my awareness of the financial struggles still facing many of our market participants, and made me more committed than ever to using my knowledge of and passion for food education to positively impact the lives of our clients and their families.
Most importantly, the Mobile Market has made access to healthy, affordable food a little bit easier for the residents of the "food desert" neighborhoods we serve. I'm already looking forward to next season, as we build off of the successes from our first year!