Duluth residents are no strangers to food insecurity. Many live in neighborhoods that lack access to fresh foods, also known as food deserts. In order to address this need, Community Action Duluth already offers summer and winter farmer’s markets in Central Hillside and Lincoln Park. However, Covid-19 has exposed a deeper need across a larger geographic area. Due to the pandemic, Seeds of Success could not safely continue with the indoor winter farmer's market as planned. This challenge inspired the Mobile Market. CAD hopes to address the problem of unequal food access and raise awareness about the challenges faced by members of our community, which is especially important during this isolating and taxing time.
The Mobile Market will offer, in addition to fresh produce, staples such as dairy products, canned and dry goods, seasonings, and condiments, as well as a few household products like paper towels and toilet paper. Once Mobile Market launches, those who are interested may go to the CAD website to arrange a pre-order of the items they desire. The order will be packaged and ready for customers to pick up when the Market arrives. Once the weather has warmed, in addition to pre-orders the van will be equipped to set up an outdoor pop-up market where community members may shop as they please. The Mobile Market will be accepting EBT and can match up to $15 of EBT credit with Mobile Market dollars to use on an order. In other words, if someone spends $15 with their EBT card, the Mobile Market will give them an additional $15 to spend on eligible foods. As with CAD’s seasonal farmer’s market, there is also the opportunity for youth 17 and under to have $4 to purchase fresh produce from the Power of Produce program.
At the moment, three locations will be served, with a fourth location to be determined. The Mobile Market will operate four times a month beginning at the end of February 2021,
alternating neighborhoods each week. Mobile Market will visit Morgan Park at the Good Fellowship Community Center, and you will also find the Market at the YMCA Community Center in Harbor Highlands. In Lincoln Park, the Market will go to the Lincoln Park Community Center which is attached to the MidTowne Manor apartment complex. We will release an update when the fourth location is chosen.
In partnership with Ecolibrium3, the Duluth Children’s Museum, and the Duluth Community Garden Program, the Mobile Market will debut at a kick-off party to feature Stone Soup, a collaborative project of the four organizations. This is an initiative where packages to make soup will be arranged and can be purchased with EBT. The party will be held at the end of February in the parking lot next to the Children’s Museum in Lincoln Park. The Market currently sources food from Aldi, Sam’s Club, and the Upper Lakes Food Distribution, and we plan to integrate local artisans and farmers in the near future. CAD has worked with a variety of organizations such as the NAACP, YMCA, Bridging Health Duluth, and others to spread the news of the new program and receive feedback on initial plans. Anyone interested in supporting the Mobile Market may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are currently awaiting EBT authorization from the USDA before we can begin. Keep an eye on the Community Action Duluth website for Mobile Market’s launch. We will also promote through local and social media. We hope to see you there!