BTCF Blog | Making Food Accessible in Columbia County

BTCF Blog

Making Food Accessible in Columbia County

By Darryl Gangloff / January 7, 2019 / Donor Spotlight
Making Food Accessible in Columbia County

Despite the rain, shoppers were drawn to the small, white trailer parked on Warren Street in Hudson.

They took cover under an awning, waiting patiently to step inside and browse the shelves and coolers packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, rice and household items—all made affordable by tiered pricing based on income.

Rolling Grocer 19 is a mobile market that aims to make wholesome, local food—which is abundant in some communities and scarce in others—available to more Columbia County residents. Since its grand opening in September, the shop on wheels has parked at different locations in the city throughout the week, bringing a fully stocked grocery store directly to consumers. The goal is to expand its route to all 19 of the county’s townships, as highlighted in its name.

The market is a result of the generosity of two anonymous donors who believe that “access to healthy food should be a right, not a privilege.” They partnered with Berkshire Taconic to learn more about food inequality in Columbia County, tapping the foundation’s capacity to bring together the “experts needed to understand issues and plan strategies.”

With their guidance, BTCF commissioned a countywide scan of healthy food access. That process revealed that approximately one in eight county residents—and one in six children—lack sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food, and nearly 15 percent cannot get to a supermarket due to store closures and a lack of transportation.

In response, the donors dedicated $750,000 to launch the five-year Fresh and Healthy Food for All initiative to fund projects designed to transform the county’s food system. In addition to the mobile market—which moved from concept to completion thanks to the hard work of Hawthorne Valley Association and many volunteers—their grants have expanded a local gleaning program that distributes produce to food pantries and funded refrigeration equipment to store it. They have also created cooking classes in area school districts that teach children and their families about healthy eating habits.

“We hope to have an ever-growing impact on food accessibility for those in need,” the donors said. As demonstrated by the line of shoppers wrapped around Rolling Grocer 19, that wish is becoming a reality.

Recent Posts

Grants Provide Access to Fresh and Healthy Food in Columbia County

BTCF Blog

Grants Provide Access to Fresh and Healthy Food in Columbia County

Our initiative awarded $47,000 to 10 organizations for projects that aim to transform the food system in Columbia County.

Culture + Community: Focus on the Berkshires

BTCF Blog

Culture + Community: Focus on the Berkshires

A recent event provided a forum for discussion on the power and potential of the arts for healing and social justice.

Scholarship Fund Honors Fallen Capitol Officer

BTCF Blog

Scholarship Fund Honors Fallen Capitol Officer

A new scholarship fund honors the legacy of fallen Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans by giving back to the community he loved.

Leadership & Impact: Lessons from Our Community Engagement Investments

BTCF Blog

Leadership & Impact: Lessons from Our Community Engagement Investments

Read a brief report on the progress on our investments in community engagement, and how we aim to increase involvement, foster connections and harness the skills and expertise people can bring to organizations and communities.

Two Funds Award Nearly $190,000 to Artists and Arts Organizations

BTCF Blog

Two Funds Award Nearly $190,000 to Artists and Arts Organizations

Two of our funds recently awarded grants to support the work of local and regional artists. Recipients use this opportunity to explore new creative paths in all forms of media.

View All Stories