Carteret Local Food Network (CLFN) started as a grassroots movement in 2008 and received 501(c)3 status in 2016 to directly confront the issues of food equality, food security, environmental impact, health, education, and economic development in Carteret County, NC. Our Veggie Van program allows CLFN to provide low-wealth communities with access to healthy, fresh, local food at reasonable prices while creating new markets for local small- to mid-sized farmers.
Statistics show that large portions of Carteret County are considered a food desert (identified as large proportion of households with low incomes, inadequate access to transportation, and a limited number of food retailers providing fresh produce and healthy groceries for affordable prices). A study conducted by the USDA showed that "increased attention to national health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, and weight-related diseases have made the concept of healthy food access important".
Our goals include: increasing individuals' access to farmers' markets in our area to combat the influx and convenience of fast food restaurants and inconvenience of single day markets that currently exist; facilitating food access in underserved populations that may be homebound or have difficulty with transportation; increasing the purchasing power in low-wealth communities to provide more fresh food options at more affordable prices through grants such as FreshBucks or Loyalty Programs.
The long-term goals of our Veggie Van Mobile Market are to increase consumer education about the benefits of eating seasonally and locally and encourage healthy eating habits in families while increasing food security and access. We also offer education about produce items available, simple recipes that can be handed out for easy duplication, taste testing to encourage individuals to try items that they are unfamiliar with, health benefits, and nutritional information for the whole family.
This project has provided additional documentation in a DOCX file (projdoc.docx).