October 27, 2011

Social media helps Mobile Market win national funding

Featured Image

Vanderbilt groundskeeper Randall Carney shops at the Nashville Mobile Market during its stop at Vine Hill Towers. (Photo by Anne Rayner)

Social media helps Mobile Market win national funding

The Mobile Market, a Vanderbilt student-led, non-profit project to address food disparities in underserved Nashville neighborhoods has received $10,000 from Pinnacle Foods' Birds Eye Brand Awards "Share the Wonder" Grants.

Nashville Mobile Market (NMM) designer and originator, Ravi Patel, VMS III, says winners were selected by voting through a link on the Birds Eye Brand Facebook site.

He says social media marketing at both Vanderbilt University and the Medical Center helped secure 2,000 votes, giving them the third largest grant in the national competition.

“This money will be used to help The Nashville Mobile Market (NMM) implement teaching kitchens and better integrate teaching programs into the mobile market. We hope to make improvements to our trailer so that more people can have access to healthy foods, while also receiving nutrition education about healthy cooking practices,” Patel said.

The NMM brings local fresh fruit and produce to underserved neighborhoods on a flatbed truck every month.

Patel noted support from the Center for Health Services (CHS), Vanderbilt and the Medical Center administration, and a grant from the Frist Foundation gave NMM its start, but the program is becoming self-sustainable.

“Sustainability is a huge accomplishment. Many dismissed these neighborhoods as unsustainable markets for this product, but we are gathering the data to prove this wrong,” Patel said.

He says the grant from Pinnacle Foods’ Birds Eye Brand helps fulfill the mission of education to build nutritional knowledge that further drives purchases from NMM, supporting both local produce suppliers and the health of individuals.