Mobile bus. All take what used to be called “food stamps” —
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP) cards for payment.
While the primary goal of mobile markets is getting good food
to underserved populations, seniors, or the homebound, many
help subsidize their altruistic work by offering the market
as an employee benefit at local corporations like Measured
Progress, an educational assessment and services company.
These companies pay for periodic visits, thus helping their busy
employees have easy access to their wholesome food to take
home to cook for dinner. In New Hampshire, Seacoast Area
Mobile Market (SAMM) launched such a program this past
Jill Hall, Director of Programs for Seacoast Eat Local, a non-profit that connects people with sources of locally grown foods,
worked with SAMM Coordinator Celeste Gingras to get the
“It was an 8-week pilot this year so we’re still looking at the
data, but the first great success is that we met our goals --we
had three days of operation each week and covered the cost of
purchasing products and gas for the vehicle. “
SAMM is funded in part by the New Hampshire Charitable
Foundation, which helps connect philanthropic donations to
community projects, and by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund, dedicated to making fresh
and local easily accessible and affordable for low- and middle-income families in New England.
Hall says they had specific criteria for choosing which spots in
New Hampshire’s Rockingham and Strafford Counties the truck
would go, including towns that didn’t have farmers markets of
She says they stop at places where public transportation isn’t
strong and in the edges of towns where people tend not to leave
the area, as well as school properties.
Hall, who was often on the truck, says they learned a lot from
their first season.