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The latest addition to the D.C. mobile food scene is a 28-foot-long, 1996 model Crown International school bus. But this isn’t your average food truck, it’s a cruiser with a conscience. Arcadia Center for Food and Sustainable Agriculture recently raised nearly $15,ooo through a Kickstarter campaign to create the first “mobile food market.” Packaged as a project to bring fresh produce to those who need it most, the mobile market hopes to visit D.C’s historically under-served Wards 5,7 and 8 on a weekly basis.
If that’s not enough, the bus boasts some tricked-out siding that folds out like shelving, a refrigeration unit for perishables, plus a sink and more storage inside. Oh, and yeah, it will run on eco-friendly biofuels.
It’s so ambitious that executive director Pat Lute likens the whole mobile market project to building a house. But for now, it looks like they’re still working on the foundation. Although Lute is “very hopeful” and “committed” to starting this summer, the bus isn’t running yet. That’s because Arcadia is still trying to find a mechanic that can rebuild the engine to run vegetable oil.
“For some reason, not a gazillion people know how to do that,” Lute says, adding, “maybe your post will inspire some mechanics to come forward. They do exist on the Eastern seaboard, and we’re still sussing them out.”
But once they do get out there, Lute identifies Deanwood and LeDroit Park as areas they’ll be visiting. As for specific areas in Wards 7 and 8, she was immediately unsure. Arcadia does plan to offer alternative payment options including SNAP, WIC, and FMNP. That is, once they get through the lengthy bureaucratic process that allows them to actually accept such payments.
At least the organization’s heart is in the proverbial right place, even if the logistics aren’t quite there yet.
Photo by Pimlico Badger/Creative Commons Attribution License