With the support from MDAR, Nuestras Raíces launched its mobile local farmers market in the summer of 2017!
The Mobile Market brings healthy, farm fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods of Holyoke. Nuestras Raíces mobile market is a grassroots response to address health issues and food access by providing access to produce grown at local farms to the neighborhoods in the city. Because many neighborhoods are considered food deserts, this “farm stand on wheels” creates accessibility to fresh and local foods, affordability through its acceptance of SNAP, HIP, WIC, and senior coupons, and availability of culturally appropriate crops for the city’s large Puerto Rican population.
Job Opportunity with the Mobile Market
Nuestras Raíces is seeking a Market Operator for the 2019 season of its Mobile Farmers Market. This is a fun opportunity to gain experience in the food retail environment, and serve the community. Spanish speaking is a plus.
The Nuestras Raíces Mobile Market will:
- Stop at dozens of convenient locations throughout the city each week
- Greatly increase the quantity of locally grown food sold in Holyoke, MA
- Improve livelihoods of Holyoke-based, Latino farmers by providing a consistent and accessible market
- Improve quality of life and nutrition for over 2,000 underserved Holyoke residents by providing access to healthy, locally grown food
- Enable projected sales of over $176,000 of local products, of which over $20,000 will be from Holyoke-based Latino farmers
- Deliver Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to corporate customers
Mobile Market Schedule
Stops will be announced early summer of 2019
Why Does Holyoke Need a Mobile Market?
The Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts is home to a vibrant local food movement. However, many residents in Holyoke lack access to healthy, locally-grown food. Nearly 11,300 residents - more than 25% of the City’s population - are considered low-income with low-access to healthy food by the USDA. At the same time, local farms are not accessing customers in Holyoke.
The Mobile Market will bridge the gap between the farm and consumer, lowering barriers to access by bringing healthy food to people’s doorsteps. The Mobile Market will also provide a significant marketing outlet for regional farmers, as well as Holyoke-based Latino farmers growing Caribbean specialty crops that are difficult to find elsewhere in New England.
The population of the Latino market of Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut is 100,000 strong – and growing – and underserved with fresh produce. Certain crops desired by the Latino community are not frequently grown by area farms, and regional distributors selling local foods do not have connections with Latino markets, or to farmers who could provide them with culturally appropriate crops.
Nuestras Raíces has been working with the University of Massachusetts Extension Service and our own farmers to develop hardy varieties, seed sources and growing practices to be able to grow Puerto Rican specialty squash, beans, and peppers in New England, generating a powerful opportunity to address market demand. This project will act as a cultural and market bridge, facilitating connections between regional farmers and marketing outlets in Holyoke, and between Holyoke-based farmers and distributors.
Nuestras Raíces is seeking a volunteer for the 2019 season of its Mobile Farmers Market. The Mobile Market is like a corner-store-on-wheels, housed on a full-size school bus, but it only sells healthy and affordable food. The bus travels throughout Holyoke and makes stops on a regular weekly schedule.
The volunteer will work under the supervision of the Market Manager and is responsible for providing excellent customer service and assisting in the daily operations of the market. The volunteer should be willing and able to work in this fast-paced, customer-focused environment. Specific responsibilities include:
- Setting up and breaking down the market at each stop. This includes carrying heavy crates of fruits and vegetables (~30 lbs.).
- Stocking and maintaining the appearance of the produce display
- Providing excellent customer service and conduct surveys at market locations
- Organizing and cleaning the market vehicle
This is a fun opportunity to gain experience in the food retail environment, and serve the community. Spanish speaking is a plus.
We thank the following sponsors for their generous support of the Nuestras Raíces Mobile Market:
Support a more equitable food system!
Donate to Nuestras Raices online to join the movement for better food access for all.