We Launched Our First Mobile Market!

May 15, 2023
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Two months ago today, we successfully launched our mobile market, our first Retaaza Rx program, in partnership with Clinch Memorial Hospital. It took both teams and incredible vendor partners, but we turned our Sprinter van into a produce market on wheels that serves the community weekly.

According to Feeding America, Clinch County is the most food insecure county in Georgia, with one grocery store for 824 square miles. The mobile market drives throughout the county increasing access to fresh, healthy produce for our Georgian neighbors who need it most. Already we’ve seen 876 shoppers at the market!

The mobile market serves as a conduit of Retaaza’s mission. We connect the community with local food grown on the farms we work with everyday, ranging from small to large, organic, and BIPOC farms. For our first market, we offered a variety of local produce from Baker Farms, Bruce's Honey Shack, Dickey Farms, Herring Farms, Mercier Orchards, Pure Flavor, Riverview Farms, Southern Valley, and the West Georgia Coop. Bruce’s Honey Shack, located only three miles from the hospital, was a hit with the local shoppers! Since the launch, we’ve purchased 11,228 lbs of local food from 15 different Georgia farms to bring the freshest variety of local produce to our customers.

The program was almost two years in the making, so when launch day came around, we were ecstatic to be met with a beautiful, sunny day. We began at St. Paul’s Church/Ms. Bertha’s Soup Kitchen. The residents of the community were intrigued by the new, bright van stopping in their neighborhood and slowly started to trickle in, until before we knew it, a line had formed. Running a promotion specifically to aid senior citizens, we had two bus loads from a nearby senior center come shop at the market. They were delighted by the new program and fresh options, one resident sharing, “I love fresh vegetables. That’s all I want. Nothing out of the can and nothing frozen - nothing but fresh.” She even joked about what she was going to cook up and bring back to share with all of us. To date, the senior promotion has been used 493 times and, in total, we’ve discounted over $4,000 worth of food. 

Our second stop of the day took us to Fargo, a town in Clinch County near the Okefenokee Swamp. Prior to the mobile market, residents' options for grocery shopping were a Dollar General, driving 30+ minutes to the one grocery store in Homerville, or to Lake City, Florida. One of the ecstatic shoppers that came out in support was Fargo's Mayor!

At the end of each market week, any surplus is donated to local nonprofit organizations such as Bridges of Hope, Jesus and Jam, and the soup kitchen at Ms. Bertha’s -so that no food gets wasted!

We are thrilled to have launched this program and are beyond excited to continue to improve food access to the residents of Clinch County!

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