Community Food Truck
The Community Food Truck strengthens community food security in Southwest Montana by increasing access to fresh, nutritious produce for limited resource senior households and by providing beneficial nutrition education.
Rural, Southwestern Montana seniors are at risk for food insecurity given their limited access to a variety of nutritious, affordable foods exacerbated by lack of income, poor mobility, variable access to transportation and chronic health conditions. In addition, Montana is forecasted to contain the third largest senior population in the US by 2030.
Given these factors, CAAAANS (Cultivating Accessible, Affordable, Adequate, and Appropriate Nutrition for Seniors) was developed to integrate community non-profits such as Homemaker Services, the Gallatin Valley Food Bank (GVFB), and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) with Montana State University (MSU) students and faculty to combat senior food insecurity in Southwestern Montana.
This project aims to enhance accessibility, affordability, adequacy, and appropriateness of local food resources for seniors living in the rural communities of Southwestern Montana by developing intergenerational interactions through the creation of a community-driven planning council, mobile farm stand, and culinary collaborations. This document focuses on the planning of the mobile farm stand, named the Community Food Truck.
Produce sold from the Community Food Truck is grown and harvested at Towne’s Harvest Garden, located on the Montana State University (MSU) Horticultural Farm. Towne’s Harvest produces a wide variety of vegetables through sustainable growing methods. In addition to providing the fresh produce for the Community Food Truck, Towne’s Harvest sells vegetables via Community Supported Agriculture membership and at a farm stand on the campus of MSU.
The target audience for the Community Food Truck is low-income seniors living in rural communities. Seniors include those over the age of 50. These populations may not have the resources to travel to farmer’s markets in nearby towns or may have limited access to fresh produce. The Community Food Truck will bring the farmer’s market to this population and sell produce at a reduced rate to address their food needs.
The produce sold from the Community Food Truck will be sold at a reduced rate to low-income seniors in the Montana communities of Three Forks and Belgrade. The reduced rate will be equal to 50% of market price. The 50% rate was chosen to dually offer affordable produce to seniors and produce a sustainable project. The reduced rate will contribute to covering resource costs (e.g., gas, farm supplies) associated with Towne’s Harvest Garden production for the Community Food Truck.
Additionally, the target population is low-income, potentially living on a fixed budget. Seniors living on a fixed budget will be more willing to purchase fresh produce if it falls within their budget. In order to increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, the price needs to be low enough to encourage the purchase and consumption of produce.