Mobile Produce Market MoGro

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Introduction

Historically speaking most problems in the food system come from a concentration of power, land, wealth and political influence in the hands of a few large players who have gamed the system for their benefit. The issues of food systems, fought through food justice branches incorporate the initiatives to form merging communities in response to food insecurity and economic pressure that prevent access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods. Food systems in general is a chain connecting production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management. Even though food is one of our basic necessities to survive, only in recent years food systems have been a serious issue in the mainstream.

In the U.S., access to fresh, healthy foods is limited for low-income communities, communities of color, and rural areas. These communities do not often have access to full-service grocery stores, farmers’ markets or other healthy food sources so finding quality healthy food means either traveling significant distances or paying excessive prices (Treuhaft & Karpyn, 2010). To address this problem, there has been an increase of innovative solutions. Mobile produce markets is one of the innovative solutions that various communities have explored. MoGro, a project of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is a nonprofit mobile produce market dedicated to supporting sustainable local food systems and eliminating barriers to affordable healthy foods for low-income and underserved regions of New Mexico (Baran-Rees, n.d.).

MoGro

MoGro serves low-income, rural, and Indigenous communities as a pre-order delivery service providing majority locally grown produce, when possible, via a refrigerated truck (MoGro, n.d.a). It is set up as a sliding scale CSA with three levels: $6 bags for those paying with EBT, $12 bags for low-wage essential workers, and $20 bags for those that don’t qualify for subsidized bags (MoGro, n.d.b). According to NMFMA (2020), “to qualify for the subsidized food bags, families must meet at least one of the project’s criteria: lack of access to safe transportation, limited or no ability to leave their homes or communities due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, inability to afford locally grown produce, or significant loss of wages associated with the pandemic”

On a weekly basis, MoGro processes roughly 9,000 pounds of food with about 1,500 pounds going to the sliding scale program. It also delivers emergency food bags for communities in need, having delivered 130,000 pounds of produce to the Navajo Nation, Pueblo Communities and Urban communities in the last 10 months during COVID-19 (MoGro, n.d.a). MoGro is also invested in purchasing from local farmers whenever possible, having purchased 85,000 pounds in the last 10 months and contributed $245,000 to New Mexico’s local agriculture community (MoGro, n.d.a).

Development

Now, it is reasonable to comment on what costs were associated with the initiative development. According to Cueva et al. (2018), operating costs, involving insurance, fuel, satellite communications, and maintenance, were approximately $7,000 per month. In addition to that, roughly $22,000 per month was needed to use the truck, and this sum includes staff, machinery, and maintenance (Zepeda & Reznickova, 2017). This information demonstrated that the initiative required more resources, and it was not financially sustainable.

That is why MoGro relied on a partnership with Skarsgard Farms to ensure that retail prices would be lower for end consumers (Zepeda & Reznickova, 2017). In addition to that, the initiative received “$13,000 in grant support from the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association” (NMFMA Staff, 2020, para. 1). MoGro also generated some revenue that was close to $1,500 per visit (Cueva et al., 2018). Zepeda and Reznickova (2017) also add that the “current sales are $17,000 per month,” while $60,000 per month was needed to become financially self-sustaining (p. 27). That is why MoGro’s official website actively encourages visitors to sponsor the initiative.

Even though there exist some financial challenges, it is still possible to state that some benefits have been achieved. On the one hand, MoGro has led to significant improvement as to what foods low-income citizens purchased. According to a community-wide research paper by Cueva et al. (2018), approximately 75% of respondents admitted that the initiative helped them make more reasonable choices regarding what food products to buy for their families (p. 69). In particular, it refers to the fact that MoGro resulted in a 14% increase of households that had fresh fruits (Cueva et al., 2018, p. 69).

Furthermore, the number of respondents who experienced cutting their meals because of having insufficient money was reduced by 3% (Cueva et al., 2018, p. 69). Consequently, the initiative positively affected food availability and limited the spread of food insecurity. The NMFMA Staff (2020) explains that the changes refer to “Native Americans living on Pueblos and the Navajo Nation” (par. 2). It is worth admitting that the positive features affected the target population.

It is possible to mention that the development strategy under analysis was efficient. The rationale is that the goals were to increase local fruit and vegetable consumption and support families to promote healthy food choices (United States Department of Agriculture, n.d.). This situation is an example of development because specific changes have led to improved eating habits among the target population. There is no evidence to suppose that the proposed strategies are only effective for Native Americans. In other words, it is possible to rely on the initiative to address other communities.

Discussion

MoGro has revealed that structured and direct service can produce positive outcomes when it comes to increasing food availability and security among disadvantaged populations. The given initiative can become a lesson and example for many organizations that want to promote the phenomena above among low-income citizens. Analysis has indicated that a financial aspect is the only hidden pitfall because it is necessary to find sufficient resources to ensure that cheaper products can be distributed to the target population. hat is why critics of the initiative exist, and they stipulate that it is more reasonable to use MoGro to sell products to more economically advantaged individuals (Cueva et al., 2018).

Even though this offer will eventually generate more financial benefits, this decision will not allow for improving food safety and availability among low-income citizens. This information means that focusing on wealthier people is not reasonable.

References

Baran-Rees, R. (n.d.). MoGro: Supporting full family health through food access and community partnerships. Healthy Food Access. Web.

Cueva, K., Lovato, V., Nieto, T., Neault, N., Barlow, A., & Speakman, K. (2018). Increasing healthy food availability, purchasing, and consumption: Lessons learned from implementing a mobile grocery. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. 12(1), 65-72.

MoGro. (n.d.a). About us. Web.

NMFMA Staff. (2020). MoGro mobile grocery: Covid-19 relief fund recipient. Farmers Market. Web.

MoGro. (n.d.b). How it Works. Web.

Treuhaft, S., & Karpyn, A. (2010). The grocery gap: Who has access to healthy food and why it matters. PolicyLink.

United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). MoGro healthy snap: Expanding food access and nutrition services to New Mexico’s food insecure communities. Web.

Zepeda, L., & Reznickova, A. (2017). Potential demand for local fresh produce by mobile markets. Web.

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BusinessEssay. (2022, December 11). Mobile Produce Market MoGro. Retrieved from https://business-essay.com/mobile-produce-market-mogro/

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BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Mobile Produce Market MoGro'. 11 December.

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BusinessEssay. 2022. "Mobile Produce Market MoGro." December 11, 2022. https://business-essay.com/mobile-produce-market-mogro/.

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