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Route One Farmers Market expanding food access through new mobile truck

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 02, 2023

A Lompoc nonprofit has launched a new initiative aimed at expanding access to fruits and vegetables while also supporting local farmers.

Just a few weeks ago, Shelby Wild and her team at the Route One Farmers Market began driving their mobile truck around Lompoc to help bring wider community access to locally grown fresh produce.

“It is great!” said Maribl Alesna, a regular customer at their farmers market. “I mean, look at all the fresh produce here. It is so fresh and just overflowing with L-O-V-E.”

“We have some really great bell peppers, we have some amazing greens, baby spinach, arugula, kale,” said Lauren Requenez, Route One Mobile Market Program Manager.

For nearly four years, the Route One Farmers Market has had a home selling produce on Sundays in Vandenberg Village, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, they transitioned to a nonprofit organization as their team began noticing glaring issues regarding food access in their community.

“I pulled out an eggplant, and not a single one of my students had ever seen an eggplant, or even knew what it was, so it was kind of shocking to me that here we are in this massive agricultural area, there are fields all around us and people in our community are so disconnected,” Requenez added.

“As a nonprofit, our mission is food access and making the food as accessible in both the farmers’ ability to sell to the community and the community’s ability to access it,” said Route One Executive Director Shelby Wild.

Requenez says the produce offered daily is dictated by what local farms have available.

“Oftentimes, farmers can’t as easily add more staff or go to another farmers market that is in a different city, so this is really the perfect solution for those smaller scale farms,” she said.

Wild says their mobile farmers market is the only one of its kind in Santa Barbara County, adding that since late December, they have been driving their produce truck and selling fresh fruits and veggies all throughout Lompoc.

“We do this public health clinic twice a week, we are here on Mondays and Thursdays. We have also just started going to Lompoc High School after school in the evenings. And this afternoon, we will be at the Mission Hills Shopping Center in the hills,” Wild said.

“We already have repeat customers. They know this is their stop here at the clinic. They have already started incorporating it into their weekly shopping,” Requenez added.

The Route One Farmers Market team says they have applied to make their new mobile market EBT-accessible to expand their reach to those on government benefits. They say the money raised from their produce sales will go toward incorporating community education and cooking classes as part of their outreach.

You can find a link to the farmers market's weekly stops by clicking here: https://www.routeonefarmersmarket.org