The “Veggie Van”: Fresh Produce Right in your Neighborhood

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Neighborhood Connections to Health

Neighborhood Connections to Health is taking steps to improve access to healthy foods in Freehold by bringing fresh produce right to the community! We first created a survey to understand our community’s needs. We surveyed what type of foods people eat, and whether they have access to grocery stores, knowledge of food banks in the area, and/or interest in the Freehold Borough Community Garden, and more. A diverse cross-section of nearly 250 Freehold Borough residents completed surveys. From the surveys, we learned people do want to eat fruits and vegetables. However, they do not eat them often because of the lack of access to them and their cost.

To increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, our coalition is working to secure the resources needed for a mobile “Veggie Van.” Our plan is to park the “Veggie Van” at various locations and specific times based on feedback from the surveys, to make healthy foods easily accessible on a weekly basis. We are considering approaches to launch the “Veggie Van” as a free produce program and introduce an affordable cost to sustain the van as a community resource.

Meet another NJ community that has used the Veggie Van approach to improve health

Rolling out a “Veggie Van” would bring affordable healthy food options to the Freehold Borough community. This will also allow us to champion the importance of fresh produce instead of processed snacks and canned foods that may be loaded with sugars and/or sodium. We are looking forward to seeing how the plans for the mobile “Veggie Van” come together and the positive impact it will have on Freehold Borough!

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Carly Trill
Community Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey