Mobile Produce Pantry
As part of our Health & Wellness Initiative, World U.P. Foundation created a Mobile Produce Pantry to improve access to produce in Richmond's food deserts.
What is a Mobile Produce Pantry?
A Mobile Produce Pantry is a trailer fitted with a refrigeration unit and a CoolBot, and ample storage for fresh fruits and vegetables! Using a pickup truck, we can then transport fresh produce to different locations throughout the RVA to increase food security in Richmond and the community's access to nutrient-rich foods!
Where can the Mobile Produce Pantry go?
ANYWHERE in Central RVA! The mobile pantry meets the standards of the Virginia Health Department, so that the Mobile Produce Pantry may be used as a place to store, distribute, and provide demonstrations for ideas on how to prepare healthy produce in new and innovative ways. We can support:
Existing Food Pantries | Farmers Markets | Organizations with Healthy Eating Programs | Cultural Cooking Exchange Programs | Skills Training Programs
If you have an idea as to how the pantry can support your mission or program, please contact us!
How is this different than a regular food pantry?
We are mobile and specialize in produce. Most food pantries in Richmond lack the ability to store and distribute produce to the community. Our pantry is on wheels so we can travel to a variety of existing pantries that lack the infrastructure, and increase their ability include fresh produce in their distribution. By 2020, we will be able to support to up to 4 different pantries per month!
Where are you getting the produce?
We are a part of the Feedmore Agency Network! While Feedmore has historically only worked with brick-and-mortar food pantries, our exciting new relationship allows World U.P. to source fresh and healthy produce at a fraction of the retail cost, and allow Feedmore to provide additional service options to their existing food pantries so that they may expand their distribution options! For every $50 donation we receive, 1,500 lbs of food can be brought to a local food pantries and be distributed into the community!
What kind of impact does the Mobile Produce Pantry have on Richmond, VA?
This project will have a strong and lasting impact in the Richmond community. The project will impact three separate and measurable areas.
Improve food security to diverse underserved communities within Central Virginia. This program can provide families with healthier minds, bodies, and empower communities. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods are vital to reducing truancy rates, increasing employment rates, and building a diverse community. Proper nutrition is necessary for communities to begin to heal from the neglect and impoverishment. This impact will be measured by tracking the number of families we serve and the amount of produce they are provided.
Provide support and assistance to preexisting organizations who operate food pantries, but cannot support the storage and distribution of produce. Partnership with these organizations will strengthen the nonprofit sector of Richmond, Virginia and will encourage future partnerships that share and efficiently utilize community resources. Implementing a program that assists multiple existing organizations in achieving their missions just makes fiscal and economic sense. This impact is measured by the number of organizations we are able to serve each year.
A gentle reminder to Richmond companies and community members that food deserts are still highly prevalent in Richmond and need to be served with more permanent measures. In 2015, Richmond ranked third in the country for having the most grocery stores per capita. Since then, we have seen the entrance of Wegmans, Publix, Lidl, and the addition of many new Aldi franchises, making it reasonable to assume that Richmond has not fallen in those rankings. In a city where there are 122.56 grocery retailers per 100,000 residents, how is it that food deserts are still so prevalent? Since moving to the top of these rankings, Richmond’s food desert publicity has fallen out of light. The introduction of a new and innovative food security solution will provide as a gentle reminder that an increase in grocery stores doesn’t necessarily mean there has been an increase in access to food. Ultimately, this impact will be measured by how quickly our Mobile Produce Pantry becomes obsolete as it is replaced by permanent and affordable grocery stores in the areas we serve. It’s an idealistic goal and measure of impact, but the reality is that grocery stores will only serve areas that clearly have the potential for profit. Measuring the number of underserved community members that participate in our program, educating them on new ways to prepare produce, rebuilding an economically secure community, and creating the demand for more accessible produce will attract grocers and businesses.
Mobile Produce Pantry Community Partners
No man is an island, and no non-profit is either. Below are the Community Organizations that have taken a role to actively support the success of this project.