Farm to Family aims to helps farmers and food deserts | News

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Farm to Family aims to helps farmers and food deserts

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- The Family to Farm produce truck serves as a mobile farmer's market.

On its first day on the streets of St. Johns County, hundreds of people bought fresh produce. By the end of the day, some items were even sold out.

"It formed into something that is really good for the community and for local farmers," Ben Wells said. He is one of the local St. Johns County farmers who grows food for and stocks the Farm to Family truck.

Here's the idea: Local farmers fill the truck with their fresh produce, and Malea Guiriba and her team take the truck to specified stops – many of which are food deserts in St. Johns County.

"The food desert is a place that is typically low income and has less access, so you don't have access to a grocery store within a ten mile radius," Guiriba explained.

She said 5,900 families in St. Johns County live in 7 identified food deserts.

Tuesday, the Farm to Family truck made stops in Ponte Vedra and South Ponte Vedra. Certainly, those locations are not food deserts, but the money people spent in those location will help keep the truck rolling to food deserts.

A portion of the profits will go to back to the local farmer, and another percentage will go to the Pie in the Sky, a program Guiriba also runs in rural Hastings.

"We do everything from build wheelchair ramps, to get prescription medicine for people who don't have the money to buy it, and we get bus tickets home… anything that nobody else will do."

As for Wells, his family mostly grows potatoes, but diversifying the crop -- in order to provide different foods for Farm to Family -- helps his bottom line.

"If we're able to go directly to the retailer (Farm to Family), you have a better chance of sustaining yourself and goring different products," Wells explained.

The Farm to Family project gives him and his workers more income throughout the whole year, not just potato season.

Wells smiled, "It's exciting for a farmer to get to grow different things!"

And selling it is nice too, he agreed. This project enables him to sell produce to people who really want or need it.

If you would like to know more information about Farm to Family, CLICK HERE.

----To connect with Jessica Clark, follow her on Twitter at @JessicaFCN or Like her on Facebook.


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