Rebel food cart
In 2018, an estimated 20,068 people were homeless in Massachusetts, representing a 20.6 percent increase compared to 2010, according to an annual report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Advocates say these numbers are undercounted. People experiencing homelessness are often dependent on public generosity and meals from soup kitchens, neither of which provide them with organic, vitamin, and mineral-rich food. More often the food they receive is over-supplied with highly processed, fatty foods. People experiencing homelessness and those without a secure, adequate, and affordable place to live, are vulnerable to food insecurity which can cause or exacerbate health problems.
To address this challenge, Rebel Cause Inc proposes to provide wholesome meal alternatives in the form of nutritious organic (whenever possible) smoothies to people experiencing food insecurity in the City of Boston. In our initial phase, we are hoping to provide this community service three times a week during the spring and summer months to provide a more accessible and quality meal option. For the primary purposes of this project, we define “meal alternatives” as providing organic smoothies supplemented with superfoods (i.e., whey protein, açai, coco, chia seeds, maca powder, kefir, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, flaxseed, spirulina, hemp protein, turmeric) that are typically cost-prohibitive to the food insecure. Rebel Cause Inc has purchased an electric food cart, we next intend to get the necessary permits to operate it, and obtain a hawking and peddling license. From April to September, this food cart will travel to areas frequented by those experiencing homelessness and areas where they are permitted to sleep (i.e., churches, parks, libraries, etc.) to serve them healthy, balanced meals and meal alternatives..
Environmental and Community Sustainability is a vital part of our model of providing this service. We plan to partner with local urban farms, businesses, and non-profit organizations on food reclamation to sustain our ability to provide healthy meals and decrease grocery expenditures. We have reached out to urban farms and community gardens to provide us with daily food donations of fresh fruits and vegetables. To lower operating costs, we will also sell smoothies to the public at large for a nominal fee and charge a sliding-scale for our on-the-spot workshops on Urban Farming, Permaculture, Nutrition, and Indigenous food sovereignty. The profit from selling smoothies will help to sustain the operations of the Foot Cart. In the next phase of our project, we hope to provide a safe and approachable space for our service population to feature their entrepreneurial projects such as homemade masks, artisanal crafts, and recipe books. This offers the opportunity to address the psycho-social quadrant of public health by promoting self-esteem, motivation, and increased opportunities for socialization with peers.