Mobile Food Market serves Manchester and other communities

Every other week, Molly Stark brings a van full of berries, corn and more to neighborhoods across Manchester. Consistency is key, says Stark.

“I’ve stopped by everywhere and built relationships with many customers,” Stark said. “You know what they want. This particular woman loves garlic stalks.” [so we offer] Some extra, like she has.

Run by the Organization for Refugee and Migrant Success, this ‘farm stand on wheels’ launched in Manchester in 2019 and has since grown to include stops in Nashua and Concord. But unlike many other New Hampshire communities, the Queen City doesn’t have a traditional summer farmers market, so it’s playing an especially important role this year.

Some of the produce offered in the mobile market comes directly from Fresh Start Farms, an initiative run by ORIS. It offers immigrants and refugees the opportunity to improve their agricultural skills while producing healthy food for their communities. There is also food from other local producers.

Making the food more accessible is just one step, Stark said. Affordability is also important.

“I think access to food is like if you want to eat healthy, you want to get fresh fruit and vegetables, and you want it to be close and affordable,” says Stark. said.

ORIS works with banks, hospitals and social welfare organizations to make this food more accessible to local families in need. Through his one partnership with Elliott Health System, the organization provides 60 families affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Manchester, one of his regular stops in the van, with food from the market each. We can provide 60 vouchers worth $30. A similar voucher program is also offered at other Mobile His Market locations.

ORIS mobile market

Thomas B. O’Malley Apartments is one of the mobile market’s regular stops.

This mobile market is one of several ways ORIS delivers local produce, in addition to traditional farmers markets and home delivery. Muktar Idhow, executive director of ORIS, said the market saw an increase in demand from people, especially the elderly, looking for safer ways to shop for food during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was. He said they took delivery.

To disseminate information about the ORIS mobile market, the organization enlists the help of community ambassadors (local residents who ensure that their neighbors know about this resource) in many places.

Karen Bergeron plays the role in her apartment on Manchester’s West Side. She loves her job and her cause, she said.

“We had to sign up. I talked to people and reminded them,” Bergeron said. is getting a little better.”

Ambassadors also acted as a key line of communication between ORIS and the communities it served. During the pandemic, they helped their neighbors with grocery shopping.

Mobile market coordinator Stark said the market is trying to help customers who may be short on money or food stamp benefits, such as by offering vouchers to those in need. It also provides a window into other pressures facing community members.

“It’s rewarding. I mean, people are like, ‘Oh, great, we have this affordable food, but now we don’t have air conditioning and I’m going to die in the heat,’ or ‘My housing, they’re raising the rent.’ ‘, or whatever it is,’ she said. “So I believe this is kind of a way to connect with the community and listen to other resources.”

Stark said they are trying to make more resources available in the marketplace, such as allowing people to sign up for SNAP benefits.

Some families find the market particularly helpful as food prices rise at traditional grocers. .

“You can see how expensive the Hannaford is compared to this cart,” says Carter.

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