City Council approves policy to bring affordable fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods
SAN JOSE, Calif., May 15, 2013 – A mobile produce vending program designed to bring affordable healthy food to low-income neighborhoods took a step forward on Tuesday, May 14, when the San Jose City Council unanimously approved zoning changes making it easier for vendors to sell whole fresh fruits and vegetables in San Jose.
Fresh Carts Silicon Valley, an initiative of The Health Trust, will recruit and train 40 local residents to sell fresh produce in neighborhoods where access to affordable healthy food is limited. The first carts should be rolling by spring, 2014. The work, modeled after the successful Green Carts program in New York City, will be funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fresh Carts Silicon Valley is just one of The Health Trust’s strategies to make healthy food available to all residents, including the expansion of farmers’ markets and its Healthy Corner Stores initiative.
“In too many of our neighborhoods, there are fast-food places on every corner but nowhere to buy high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Health Trust CEO Frederick J. Ferrer. “The beauty of Fresh Carts is that we’re promoting healthy food and we are also offering entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of low-income communities.”
The zoning changes passed by the Council Tuesday streamline the permit process and extend the duration of the permits so vendors can focus on building their businesses. The changes allow vendors to operate, without an administrative permit, on private property with the permission of the owner, and to vend in residential neighborhoods, a right extended only to vendors of fresh fruits and vegetables. The council asked staff to draft regulations to extend vending to city-owned property.
Since The Health Trust introduced the concept for Fresh Carts Silicon Valley two years ago, There has been tremendous excitement among residents, community leaders and potential vendors. Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and Councilmembers Xavier Campos, Ash Kalra, Sam Liccardo and Donald Rocha all spoke in support of the program.
“As a father of three young kids and a youth sports coach, I have been an advocate for physical activity and healthy eating for some time,” Rocha said Wednesday. “I am excited about the work that The Health Trust has done to bring healthy produce into our neighborhoods, creating small business opportunities, and improving the quality of life of our community. I am looking forward to giving my kids a few dollars to grab an apple or banana from a Fresh Cart vendor between games, and seeing our community health improve.”
About The Health Trust
The Health Trust is a nonprofit foundation that provides grants, services and advocacy to support its vision of Silicon Valley as the healthiest region in America. The Health Trust’s key initiatives are Healthy Living, Healthy Communities and Healthy Aging. For more information, visit www.healthtrust.org.
For information contact:
Patty Fisher, The Health Trust