Representative: Alisha Pruett
The Bulb Mobile Markets aim to reduce food waste and increase food security in Charlotte by providing local and rescued food, as well as education on health and wellness. Through partnerships with local farmers, chefs, and other non-profits, a “resource” market is formed where vulnerable individuals are given access to services to propel their life’s situation.
What is the focus of your organization?
To provide access of farm fresh food and increase a holistic sense of health and wellness in vulnerable communities.
How did your organization start?
I was working in homeless services for veterans in Charlotte and noticed that once individuals and families were housed, they were stripped of their access to resources. I noticed that there were no fresh foods available even when referring to food pantries, which made situations worse as everyone I was serving had physical and mental ailments. In 2013, I began to reach out to farms, farmer’s markets, and garden projects and started collecting fresh, local food to deliver to neighborhoods. Along with that, I provided resources and developed a market in different neighborhoods where I was housing individuals. I started at 4 markets a week, serving about 30 individuals per market. Now, I have a 2 person crew along with a pool of up to 50 volunteers who man up to 15 markets a week in the fall and winter, and 30 markets a week in spring and summer. We can serve up to 200 people per market, now as we gain approximately 800 lbs of food rescue per day. We also team up with chefs, credit unions, and other non-profits to provide wrap around services such as budget counseling, cooking tutorials, housing, creative outlets and more.
What is the issue you’re addressing?
Food insecurity and social justice.
Where did your passion for this cause come from?
My passion comes from years (13 years) of working in homeless services and seeing people coming from survival mode to actually surviving and thriving with correct support from their community. There are so many barriers placed on individuals that are facing so many challenges that they often times can’t see any relief. Knowing I can take one step to reduce barriers to something so fundamental such as food, makes me strive harder to make better food along with making resources more available.
Why is your work so important?
My work is important because it has proven to increase community engagement, alleviate health concerns, increase connections to the local food system, and increase household budget. These proven factors have allowed us to grow in our organization and serve more. I think it is catching on that it is just as easy to serve people in a mobile way rather than create a system full of barriers to gain assistance.
What are you most excited for as it relates to the SEED20 process?
I have been so happy to meet everyone and hear the good things that Charlotte is cultivating. The motivation and force you get from being around people that want to change the world for the better in their own way is indescribable. I feel that we’ve all won with these connections. Also, the potential for The Bulb to win monies to broaden our reach is so exciting!
What have you already learned from this process?
I have already learned that there is a great foundation of hope in Charlotte as all the recent and past top 20s have shown to be doing a world of good for our community. We have a big community of support and potential. Now, with our coaches, we have such a great way to improve our ability to have a voice for not only our organization, but the community we represent.
What do you hope to get out of SEED20?
I hope to strengthen my connection to my community and my organization’s mission. I have a servant heart, and I want to use it to the best of my ability. With that, I believe that SEED20 will steer me in the right direction personally and with The Bulb.
SEED20 Onstage is on March 25, 2019. Tickets available soon.
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