Mobile Food Market aims to alleviate food insecurity in HRM with new home
Posted Feb 12, 2024 09:17:24 AM.
Last Updated Feb 12, 2024 09:17:28 AM.
The head of the Mobile Food Market is thrilled that the eight-year-old community pop-up has found a permanent space.
Mandy Chapman says the grass-roots non-profit has been striving to provide communities across the Halifax Regional Municipality with increased access to healthy, affordable food since 2016 and now it will be able to help even more residents.
“What the permanent location allows us to do is have a fridge right here on the property,” says the two-year executive director of the Mobile Food Market. “That allows us to service more people and more communities because then we have farmers dropping off once a week to us and then we can go all week and we can store it in our own refrigerator.”
Until the permanent home opened late last month, the Mobile Food Market would bring high quality, affordable produce and food to communities through pop-up markets in Halifax neighbourhoods that traditionally face food access barriers.
While they still organize bi-weekly pop-up markets in Fairview and North End Halifax, they now have the permanent home in a room at St. Anthony’s Church on Courtney Road in Dartmouth.
“It was very strategic,” says Chapman about the location. “This community of North Dartmouth has the highest food insecurity rates in Nova Scotia because of the dense population that’s here, because of the housing options that are here and because of people may be on lower incomes and there’s a lot of newcomers that are in this community and so we really wanted to be able to offer this area something more.”
As a result, the permanent Mobile Food Market location will now operate similar to a farmers market and open up to the public every Tuesday from 4:0 p.m. to 7:0 p.m. The offerings will range from fresh fruit and vegetables to eggs and bread, all at a discounted price.
“Some of our vendors, we purchase (food) for what they sell it for but others are giving us a discount on items,” says Chapman, noting the non-profit partners with Nova Scotia farmers and businesses to sustain the local economy and eliminate extra costs, like transport.
“We have a very slight mark up to be able to cover the costs of electricity for the building and to keep our truck on the road but really, that small cost covers our operations and it allows people to shop more affordably.”
That is going to be very important for the year ahead as Canada’s Food Price Report 2024 suggests food prices could increase between 2.5 and 4.5 per cent over the course of the year.
Those statistics may be surprising to some but they don’t shock Chapman, who says she has definitely witnessed more demand at a nearby food bank in Dartmouth.
“Perhaps this is going to alleviate people from having to use food banks,” she says. “Food banks are definitely an essential service but there are some people who may not use food banks or may not choose to but they still need to be able to eat so this gives them an opportunity to be able to come and choose their own food.”
For more information on the Mobile Food Market, visit: www.mobilefoodmarket.ca