JONATHAN CRIBBS, DELMARVA FARMER — A crew of workers at Real Food Farm was packing a truck with produce on a recent Wednesday as the winter’s first brutal cold blasted across the farm’s six acres in Clifton Park, including several high tunnels protecting crops such as strawberries.
The truck, the farm’s increasingly popular Mobile Farmers’ Market, was headed to a Johns Hopkins clinic on Eastern Avenue that provides federally-funded supplemental food and nutritional counseling to pregnant or new mothers with young children.
Once the truck arrived, they’d set up shop, selling produce such as head lettuce, kale, collard greens, sweet potatoes, even rice, which they recently grew nearly 100 pounds of on the farm. All of it grown by Real Food Farm or local operations. Their customers are underserved city residents, primarily those in so-called “food deserts” where’s it’s difficult or impossible to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and other whole foods.
“We’re definitely looking to reach out to neighborhoods that have been left behind by the food system,” said Charlotte Proctor, program manager at the farm. “[Food deserts] are a massive problem here in Baltimore city.”
It’s Real Food Farm’s seventh season with its mobile farmers’ market and its first with a second truck, Proctor said. The addition has allowed the farm to add 15 market stops to its weekly routes, bringing its total to 25 stops across the city, she said.
The mobile market’s goal is “to go into communities where there isn’t a grocery store, isn’t a farmers’ market, but there are people who eat,” Proctor said. “This mobile market has wheels. I can roll all over the city. We’re permitted pretty close to an ice cream truck where I can just stop and sell things.”
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