The Good Food Bus is a mobile food market, creating easier access to good food. We are a market on wheels with stops across Maine in Lewiston-Auburn, Bath, and Lisbon. Our goal is to bring you food that is local, convenient, and affordable.
The Good Food Bus provides direct and convenient access to fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, bread, honey, pickles, dried fruit, nuts, frozen prepared items, and other grocery items. We strive to help all Maine people put good food on their tables with an emphasis on those individuals and families who are at greater risk for food insecurity.
Our goal is to make the better choice the easier one. We believe that good food is the foundation of a vibrant and healthy community. We value and prioritize locally sourced food. The majority of our items are locally sourced from Maine; however, we do carry some favorites from away, like citrus and peanuts.
APPROACH & sTRATEGY
We all work hard everyday to make healthy food choices. This work can sometimes feel impossible when just putting food on the table is a struggle. Sadly, Maine people struggle more than most others in the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports that 13.6% of Maine households are food insecure – a rate far higher than the national average of 11.7% (Sept. 2019). Food insecurity and hunger are a function of poverty.
In the small and vibrant city of Lewiston, with a population of only 36,000 people, almost one-fourth (22.2%) live in poverty. Lewiston is home to three of the poorest census tracts in the state. The number of residents living 200% below the Federal Poverty Line in these “extreme poverty tracts” reaches 87% in Lewiston's downtown neighborhoods; the city's poverty rate for children under five years old is 48%, twice the state average. The downtown Lewiston elementary school has the highest rate of free/reduced lunch in the state (100%). Up to half of households in some areas, including downtown neighborhoods, don’t have access to a vehicle, making it that much more difficult to put good food on the table.
The Good Food Bus employs innovative food access strategies while working to meet the needs of the diverse communities in which it operates. We operate our markets at a mixture of neighborhood and business locations, which allows us to reach a diversity of people including those experiencing financial hardship or food insecurity. Both are vital in the sustainability of our model. Business stops typically come with a direct point of contact and advocate on the ground that help with marketing, communication, and promotion of our project. At neighborhood stops, more of a concerted effort has to be made to either find a proponent to advocate for us within their neighborhood or we have to bare this crucial responsibility. By applying these strategies, we are able to also serve a range of cultural and linguistic communities in Lewiston including generational Mainers and New Americans hailing from places such as Somalia, Kenya, Congo, and Angola.
We recognize that the Good Food Bus is only one approach and strategy in the gamut of food access work being done in and around Maine. Making good food more accessible for all is the cornerstone of our model including offering programs that help make the food we sell more affordable. We work in concert with other farmers’ markets, farm stands, and corner stores as part of an active network in pursuit of a more just food system.