Brooklyn Born Green Cart Brings Fresh Produce to Underserved Communities
On Monday, April 27, 2015, Brooklyn Born, a community enrichment food vending service, will kick off the new location of its Green Cart, a mobile food cart that offers fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods. The produce pop-up will be set up outside the back entrance of Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, Arnold & Marie Schwartz Comprehensive Health Care Center, One Brookdale Plaza, Brooklyn, N.Y. Brooklyn Born Green Cart will be open five days a week, Mondays – Fridays, 10am-5pm, and accepts EBT and credit cards.
“We are honored that Brookdale Hospital invited Brooklyn Born to help their patients have access to fruits and vegetables,” says Kelebohile Nkhereanye, Brooklyn Born co-owner. “This is a powerful community collaboration where we can address the gaps. We get to provide foods that celebrate the diverse cultures in Brooklyn and debunk the myth that people in low-income neighborhoods do not want to eat fruits.”
Sponsored by East New York Farms as a part of the Food Dignity Project to help increase access to high quality produce, the Brooklyn Born Green Cart will also create opportunities for Brookdale patients and local residents to connect with one another, create a sense of community, and even learn cooking skills through demos, such as preparing salads and sautéing vegetables without losing all of the nutrients. Brooklyn Born also plans to practice environmental sustainability by using the produce they are unable to sell for juicing and salads that they will sell on the Brooklyn Born Food Truck. Additionally, there will be a food compost service where community members can bring their fruit and vegetable waste to be transformed into a fertile soil.
“The main objective is that we want people to have good food,” adds Nkhereanye. The street vendor runs the Green Cart with Brooklyn Born founder, Renee Boyd, where the dynamic duo combines their entrepreneurial spirit with their commitment to food justice and community. Boyd, a New York native, has been selling on the streets of Brooklyn for more than 20 years—starting with socks and jeans to now owning Brooklyn Born Food Truck and several vending machines. Back in Lesotho, Southern Africa, Nkhereanye’s grandmother taught her how to grow food, harvest it, and make a profit.
“In the winter, she would buy a sack of oranges—some would be for us, some we would sell,” she explains. “It was something that kept us financially independent.” Hitting close to home is an underestimate in terms of what helping locals eat healthy means to the Brooklyn Born team. But Nkhereanye admits, she’s not just doing this for the community.
“I also want to take care of myself,” she shares. “I want to be healthy. This work—food justice—this is part of me.”
Nkhereanye and Boyd are advocating for more licenses for street vendors. For the pair, it is also about job creation—and planting an important seed in Brooklyn that they hope will continue to spread. To learn more about the Brooklyn Born Green Cart and updates on the location, visit brooklynbornfood.com.