West Philly Fresh Food Hub truck will improve access to healthy food in West Philly

In Philly, urban farming projects are becoming almost as popular as Midtown Village’s Restaurant Row.

When it’s launched this April, the West Philly Fresh Food Hub mobile food truck will bring high quality, produce, dairy, free-range eggs and more to the Belmont neighborhood along Lancaster Avenue between 37th and 40th Streets, and surrounding areas.

Truck design plans

“We are trying to pilot the idea, can a neighborhood grocery store start up as a mobile grocery store,” said Ryan Kuck, 31, one of the people responsible for expanding the program from a cart to an initiative that, as it evolves over the next few years, will grow to include educational and community programs as well as serve as a network of local farming resources.

Kuck explained that local residents expressed interest in a more permanent location than the pushcart he has sold vegetables out of in the area for the past six years. The project is a collaboration with Greensgrow Farms (who ran a similar program last year in Camden) and Preston’s Paradise, two urban agriculture organizations, Drexel University, the People’s Emergency Center, and the Philadelphia Health Department.

Truck in action. Photo from Food Hub Facebook page

Kuck said the truck could become a brick and mortar location after a year or two. When and if that happens, local high quality fresh meat could become part of the equation. The Greensgrow network includes more than 90 farms within a 150-mile area, according to Kuck. Customers can also make online and bulk purchases that can be picked up at the truck or Greensgrow’s Cumberland Street Market location.

“It’s more about partnering,” said Kuck about the long-term goals of the project.

–Lou Mancinelli