The Fresh Food Hub is a mobile grocery store and farmer's market that brings fresh, affordable, healthy food options to neighborhoods that desperately need it. We're a nonprofit, and started this project on a shoestring budget and with a dedicated staff committed to their neighborhoods. We've succeeded beyond our hopes. As of August 2013, The Fresh Food Hub has distributed over 15 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables into West Philadelphia, serving over 1,500 families and putting more than $30,000 back into the local food system. Now we're looking for funding to expand beyond our neighborhood to the other parts of Philadelphia that lack access to fresh and affordable food.
The Fresh Food Hub is an outgrowth of the community food resiliency work of Preston's Paradise, an all-volunteer organization in the Mantua and Belmont neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. Preston’s Paradise supports more than a dozen gardens, orchards, and public food resources in an underserved community with the tools, education, and mutual support to sustain healthy lifestyles.
Our gardens and orchards feed a lot of people, but we could never grow enough to satisfy the tremendous demand for fresh produce. So in 2007 we teamed up with some local growers, including youth-run farms like the Urban Nutrition Initiative, to bring more fresh organic food into our neighborhoods, and strategized how to get it to those who needed it. And the Fresh Food Hub mobile market was born.
But we still couldn't meet the demand (and our backs were breaking). So in 2011 we approached Greensgrow Philadelphia Project - our city's premier urban farm and food hub - about getting a truck to bring vast quantities of healthy food to West Philadelphia. We wrote the grants and got a used bread truck for $1,200 and we were off! Two years later we now employ 5 West Philadelphia residents and have served over 15,000 customers in communities with little or no access to fresh food.
We think our pilot has been pretty successful and we’d like to extend it to other neighborhoods. We are constantly being approached by new potential partners and opportunities to make healthy and local produce accessible to more communities throughout Philadelphia. We've learned a lot along the way, and our project remains a small and nimble organization that is directly accountable to those we serve. Greensgrow provides us with accounting and insurance services that help us to maintain good business practices so we can focus on what we do best – feeding our communities.
Our thrifty tendencies have taken us far, but if we really want to take this idea to its full potential, we need to invest. We need $9,773 to expand our pilot to the whole city and support local farmers and local eaters with food that feels good. People just are happier when they eat well, it's a fact. Funds from our kickstarter campaign will be used to extend the Fresh Food Hub hours by hiring more staff from our community and upgrading our truck to more efficiently serve additional markets. We already have a waiting list of folks that would love to have us stop by.
So please consider chipping in. We have a plan and a proven track record for success. It's the best money you'll spend all week. Thanks from all of us at the Food Hub for your support, and see you in the streets!
Risks and challenges
It's always a challenge to create sustainable ventures. As a small project with a narrow geographic focus, we're especially vulnerable to price fluctuations and limited availability from our farmers. But by remaining true and accountable to our growers and our customers, we've built a solid network of partners that are committed to seeing us succeed. And because we all come from the neighborhoods we serve, we have a personal stake in the project's success. Come out and meet our team and you'll know how we make good things happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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