We've made huge strides in the last two months including:
Increasing the size of our mobile market from our Veggie Van to our Veggie Bus! Our founder, Catherine Elkins, found a great deal on a retired Type A (smaller school bus) that we have gutted and placed shelving inside so that you can now "Shop on the Bus!" This has allowed us to have more items and more variety on hand to increase the visibility of more farmers.
Increasing the number of our Veggie Van stops. Last year we had 6-8 stops on our weekly route, 2-3 stops per day for approximately 3 days each week. This year we've increased to 9 regular stops and are looking to add another full day of 3 stops, putting us in 12 different communities each week!
We've added an employee! We recently hired Matthew who has been involved with agriculture and aquaculture in Eastern North Carolina for most of his life. He is an amazing resource at the Veggie Van and has been an incredible addition to our team.
We couldn't have done all of this without the help of supporters like you! We appreciate every donation we receive and put them to good use expanding our programming.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information on future expansion plans. We love talking about what we do!
Thank you again for all that you do to help us help our local farmers.
Wow! It's 2022 already! 2021 was a whirlwind and we're excited to share with you some of the impacts your donations have made in Carteret County.
2021 End of Season Survey
We recently sent out our annual end-of-season survey to measure our impact in the community across all of our programs. Here is some feedback from our community regarding our Veggie Van program:
More than 2/3 of respondents stated that they increased their household consumption of locally grown produce by 25% or more in 2021 as compared to 2020.
60% of households received some kind of financial assistance in 2022 such as SNAP, WIC, or free or reduced school lunches.
75% of survey respondents shopped from the Veggie Van this year, nearly half of those taking advantage of matching programs and incentives for low-income families.
By the Numbers
We purchased more than $20,000 in local produce from our farmers to distribute via our Veggie Van. That's $20,000 that stayed in Carteret County in 2021.
CLFN helped customers use more than $3,000 in SNAP/EBT funds to purchase fresh produce and matched more than $1,600 via RAFI's Fresh Bucks incentive.
The Veggie Van had more than $600 in other incentives and discounts such as survey participation incentives.
New Veggie Van
Thanks to donations, community support, and our founder, we are in the process of retrofitting our new Van! We purchased an old school bus and are outfitting it to serve as our Mobile Market in the upcoming year. This means more room for more produce and more selection!
The Carteret Local Food Network team is excited to continue this program through 2022 and we hope to expand by adding more volunteers, increasing our Mobile Market locations dates and times, and doing more in the community.
Thank you for all of your help and support in 2021! We look forward to maintaining these great relationships in 2022!
If you'd like to volunteer to help with our Veggie Van Mobile Market, please reach out to Chef Caroline, our Farm & Food Director and Mobile Market Manager at Caroline.email@example.com.
Carteret Local Food Network has grown by leaps and bounds this year thanks to all of the support we've received. Community sponsors and individual donors like yourself have been instrumental in helping us achieve our goals. Thank you! We couldn't do it without your love and unending encouragement.
Here are some highlights from the Veggie Van Program this year:
Thanks to financial support from our community, sponsors, and donors, we have spent nearly $20,000 on produce from our local farmers as of September 25th! That's $20,000 that has stayed in our community and helped both large and small-scale farmers start recovering economically.
We have been able to expand our Veggie Van route from five weekly stops to eight all across Carteret County. These additional stops have allowed us to reach even more community members and bring more fresh produce to these homes.
We just received word that we have been selected to participate in the second tier of the University of Buffalo's Veggie Van Study. We will be able to offer seniors who shop at our Veggie Van Mobile Market an additional discount.
The Veggie Van will continue to participate in the Fresh Bucks program, allowing SNAP/EBT users to double their buying power up to $20 per market per day!
Again, we couldn't do what we do without your help! Thank you for your support and we look forward to continuing to serve you.
Carteret Local Food Network is pleased to make the following announcements since our January update:
Our Veggie Van Mobile Market is off to a fantastic start this year. We've been busy adding locations and moving to have market days four days a week!
We have been invited to participate at several local farmers' markets including the Historic Morehead City Curb Market on Saturdays and the Western Carteret Mid-Week Market at the Market at Cedar Point on Tuesday evenings.
We are maintaining our approval as a SNAP/EBT retailer and have been given the opportunity by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) to participate in the Fresh Bucks program. This program allows us to double the buying power of our SNAP/EBT users up to $20 per market day!
We are in the research phase of accepting WIC.
We are in discussions with Backpack Carteret to collaborate on ways that we can help incentivize children and their families to shop locally through our Veggie Van and help educate them on the value of eating healthy.
AND we have almost completed construction on our Food Hub!
Our new cold storage facility, the Food Hub, is pivotal to our Veggie Van program. This allows us to buy in bulk from our farmers, often at wholesale prices, to store greater quantities of in-season produce, maintain the appropriate cold chain, decrease food waste due to spoilage, and offer a central location for our farmers who do not have access to their own cold storage. Even better, we have a central place for our volunteers and supporters to gather for educational classes and demos, to pack our CSA bags, and meet to load up the Veggie Van for its route as well as store our supplies.
We have received some grant funding for the Food Hub build, but our greatest supporters are the individuals who support their local farmers either by buying from them directly or purchasing their produce through us.
We can't possibly thank you enough for your love and support during this time.
Thank you so much to everyone who donated in December for our GlobalGiving Accelerator campaign.
We wanted to keep you abreast of our plans moving into 2021 and what your donations have helped us achieve as of right now:
We have been able to get our Veggie Van wrapped and display our Carteret Local Food Network logo and social media sites to help make us easily identifiable at our Mobile Markets.
We have been able to move out of our small 10'x10' storage unit/office and can't wait to show you what our next move is here. I don't want to spoil the surprise but please know that it helps us with our mission as well as it will give back to the community and our local farmers.
We will be able to purchase additional equipment and software to faciliate demographic collection and streamline our Veggie Van sales at our Mobile Markets with a combination of your donated funds and the Unviversity of Buffalo's Veggie Van Mobile Market study.
We will begin instituting a Senior Mobile Market Loyalty Program to help increase food access and affordability to our senior population from a grant through the Veggie Van Mobile Market study and your support.
Your donations help offset the costs and fees associated with accepting SNAP/EBT for our lower income customers and we hope to be able to work with RAFI in the coming months to increase the purchasing power of SNAP/EBT via their Freshbucks program to put fresh produce into the hands of those who need it most.
Carteret Local Food Network couldn't do what we do without your support. We are truly humbled by your generousity and want you to know that we won't stop until everyone in our community has access to the freshest, most nutritious produce available.
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