How mobile food trucks can help provide the hungry with healthy options

How mobile food trucks can help provide the hungry with healthy options

Tuesday, February 03, 2015 by: Raw Michelle

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately one in every eight people suffer from chronic undernourishment worldwide, with a rise even in developed countries where easier access to food exists. However, the problem of undernourishment isn’t just one of food availability but also of income; it’s estimated that the main cause of hunger is poverty, a problem commonly compounded by political and economic conflicts.(1)

In San Francisco, for example, Bevan Dufty, who was appointed the city’s Director of Housing Opportunities, Partnerships and Engagement, notes that many individuals’ health is impacted by a lack of food. Of the Tenderloin neighborhood, where there are many homeless, he said, “It’s a neighborhood where a lot of people are living in supportive housing. They don’t have kitchen facilities so their food options are limited, and those limited food options are undermining people’s health.”(2)

While options such as food pantries exist, sometimes those in need aren’t easily able to travel to those locations. Their issue may be a matter of having physical conditions that make travel difficult or the fact that the cost to get there in the first place is problematic. Sometimes otherwise costly food markets have sales, but the foods offered at that point are less than desirable for consumption.

Delivering healthy foods to those in need

Thankfully, many cities are providing the hungry with ways for them to eat in a way that’s all about easy access, affordability and utmost nutrition. If not yet providing the hungry with food, they’re in the process of putting a solution in place.

Dufty has the idea of a food truck he calls “Heavenly Souls,” which he envisions would be run by the area’s homeless and kick-start a healthy food movement while also building stronger community bonds. While his idea is still at the conceptual stages and in need of more funding, there are places where the concept of providing healthier foods to those less fortunate is taking off fast.(2)

In Toronto, Canada, the rise of food deserts — areas in which access to affordable, healthy foods is lacking — has become rather common.

There, Afua Asantewaa, co-ordinates the FoodShare Mobile and Good Food Markets, which provides such foods to people in need. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) donated a Wheel-Trans bus that accommodates those using wheelchairs, while LGA Architectural Partners thoughtfully turned it into a place that displays foods conveniently and beautifully. The bus, which typically arrives to metro areas twice weekly, provides a range of fruits and vegetables to those who otherwise couldn’t afford the more costly foods in the area.(3,4)

Serious health consequences of not eating enough fruits and vegetables

Without sufficient fruit and vegetable intake, several health issues can develop.

For example, related vitamin and mineral deficiencies can arise, altering the function of cardiovascular, skeletal and nerve health.

The digestive system can also be impacted; without enough dietary fiber, constipation can result and the body can become unable to effectively remove necessary waste.

Furthermore, not eating enough of these healthy foods puts people at increased risks of weight gain, developing diabetes, having a stroke and being less able to fight off inflammation or even tumor growth.







Leave a Reply