Farm to Family: A New Take on Fresh Produce

By: Molly Rovero, LuxEco Editorial Assistant

Farm to Family is a new take on the idea of farmers markets and bringing fresh produce into inner city areas, such as food deserts, where it is not as readily available. They are “Feeding the community one stop at a time”, by driving a bus full of produce to different locations throughout the Virginia area. Mark Lilly, the founder of Farm to Family is said to be, “actively involved in advocacy for local, sustainable food and its distribution methods.” Goals of the group include a healthier society by providing fresh nutrient rich foods and teaching the people how to prepare and cook it.

Selections change with the seasons like any other farmers market. This week selections include potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and green peppers among other veggies available. Produce isn’t the product available from this market on wheels though. Various meets, dairy, and jar items, such as jams, are also available.

Education is an important part of Farm to Family, especially for children. With this in mind sometimes farm animals, including baby rabbits and chickens, travel along on the bus for children to learn about them. They also give out seeds so they can learn first hand about growing plants. Families can also learn about where their products came from, with information directly from the farm.

The community is notably satisfied with the roving market commenting on the innovative idea and saying they will return soon. From their testimonials, Mark says, “The bus is charming and my daughter absolutely loved the bunnies!!” Hype about the bus is also raving among news sources including Huffington Post, the BBC, and the Washington Times.

Although Farm to Family uses a diesel fuel bus, which releases sulfur and fine particulate matter into the atmosphere, the positives outweigh the negatives. There are wide ranges of benefits that result from this buses travels. To start with, it is reducing the number of people traveling in their own cars in search of fresh produce. The program also promotes a healthier community where people are eating better and learning about nutrition. There is no doubt that this well loved idea will gain momentum and will hopefully be an inspiration to others across the country to start similar programs in their own areas and bring these wonderful benefits to everyone who needs them.

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