Market on Wheels

The Rollin’ Root rolls to underserved communities

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To bridge the gap between farmers markets and those who don’t live near one, the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) launched the Rollin’ Root this past month. A mobile farmers market of sorts, Rollin’ Root is a truck packed with fresh produce and dairy products from local farmers and artisans, traveling through various Marin locations on Thursdays.

Focusing on low-income communities of older adults, the refrigerated truck, stocked with goods from the Civic Center farmers market, stops at Whistlestop Active Aging Center in San Rafael, the Marin Valley Mobile Country Club in Novato and the Maria B. Freitas Senior Community in San Rafael. As of Sept. 27, a fourth stop at the Marin City Community Development Corporation in Marin City will be added.

“Many people in Marin are interested in visiting the farmers market,” says AIM CEO Naja-Riese says, “but have transportation hardships. We’re combining the convenience of the food truck with the freshness of the farmers market.”

The Rollin’ Root—formed through AIM’s partnership with the Healthy Eating Active Living Community Health Initiative, a partnership between the League of California Cities and the Public Health Advocates—emphasizes healthful food and everyday mobility, but Naja-Riese says anyone can shop from the truck. For the communities it visits, the Rollin’ Root truck has become, he says, “a real event, something our senior communities are able to look forward to each week, a place to connect with their neighbors and learn about seasonal products.”

Alongside the vegetables, fruit and yogurt, Rollin’ Root hands out recipe cards and educational materials. Building on the warm welcome the program has received so far, Naja-Riese carefully plans the future.

“Given it’s a new initiative, we want to be thoughtful on how we expand,” he says. “We’re looking into West Marin, and even San Francisco and Oakland. We’re looking to fill a need.”

Visit agriculturalinstitute.org/mobile-market for more information.

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