On August 11th, we held a webinar highlighting the great work being done at two Mobile Farmers Markets: Grow Ohio Valley in Wheeling, and My Mobile Market in Williamson. This is the second season of operation for both of these markets, and both markets had great experiences to share. At the end of the webinar, we got a quick look into the developing project at Mid-Ohio Valley Edibles, and they shared some of their goals for the fall. View the replay of the webinar here, or read our summary below!
Currently operating 16 mobile stops per week in the Wheeling area, Grow Ohio Valley began using their newly refurbished truck the very day of the webinar. The new truck is outfitted with a refrigeration system and designed with timely set-up and pack-up times in mind so that it can visit multiple stops per day.
Grow Ohio Valley shared their sales numbers, which were impressive, showing sales of over $2,000 per week, and said they would ideally grow to become $1,000 per day. Their numbers show an obvious and significant increase from their data from 2014. The market continues to accept SNAP/EBT as well as senior vegetable coupons.
Grow Ohio Valley’s data collection metrics continue to be impressive and innovative, including things like customers & sales per hour, giving them a clearer picture of each of the sites they take the mobile market to.
Their produce is sourced from multiple locations, including their own production areas around Wheeling.
Grow Ohio Valley continues to show an excellent example of how small amounts of funding can be leveraged into additional funding. While the funding from WVFFC in 2014 started them off, they quickly capitalized on their great idea, and were able to raise more funding from multiple sources.
My Mobile Market was also launched last year, as an initiative by the Mingo County Diabetes coalition as part of their suite of programming to bring healthy lifestyle changes to their service area.
My Mobile Market’s programming takes the health aspect of their mission into the field, and many additional activities such as cooking demos, kids activities, taste testing, story telling, and recreational activities such as “Crossfit for kids.”
My Mobile Market visits 6 different sites in Mingo County identified based on need. DHHR supplied a signal booster for an EBT/SNAP reader. CSX and the Conservation Fund provided “youth vouchers” throughout the county for fresh fruit & vegetable purchases. These vouchers make up a significant portion of sales.
Mingo County is not a large agricultural producer, but the mobile market itself serves as a tool to recruit new farmers! They are currently conducting another farm survey to recruit new farmers.
Financially, the market is filled with about $500 worth of produce each time, and makes about $200 back. The market also relies on volunteers in order to implement healthy living programming.
Mid-Ohio Valley Edibles received similar seed money earlier this year, and is gearing up for the future! The organization is a producer cooperative based in Spencer, West Virginia. They have purchased a van to use as a Mobile Market and are decorating it. Their current plan is to set up at local school, and dates for these visits are being finalized. They are hoping to have 8 markets by the end of October.
With these three efforts figuring out what works in their regions, keep your eyes open for future funding opportunities in the Kanawha Valley region!