Expansion of Popular Mobile Farmers Market
Means Rollin’ Root is Now Rolling into West Marin
Marin County, CA November 26, 2019… When a good thing gets rolling, it’s hard to keep it in place. That’s the case with the Rollin’ Root, a food truck filled with fresh, locally grown produce that won funding to expand into West Marin County. Starting December 2, the new route includes stops at the corner of Main St & Dillon Beach Road in Tomales, Walnut Place in Point Reyes Station, and the San Geronimo Valley Community Center every Monday. With this expansion, the Root, which operates year-round, now serves 10 different locations each week.
Operating since August 2018, the Rollin’ Root is essentially a farmers market on wheels delivering a host of farm-fresh produce and dairy to Marin County residents who otherwise might not have access to affordable, nutritious fruits and vegetables. Currently, Novato, San Rafael and Marin City have existing stops on the Rollin’ Root’s route. Nevertheless, the truck’s owners, the Agricultural Institute of Marin, have endeavored to expand services to active older adults and low-income residents in the largely rural West County community.
“It’s ironic that those who live where produce is grown and sold, local rural residents, don’t have access to those same goods,” says Andy Naja-Riese, AIM’s chief executive officer. “With this expansion, we’re correcting this problem and helping folks in West Marin enjoy the nutritious produce grown in their own backyard.”
To date, West County seniors, often on fixed incomes, make up 70 percent of those now being served by the Rollin’ Root. In addition to offering access to fresh, organic produce at grocery-store prices, organizers have found that the Rollin’ Root also provides an ideal social experience for seniors who are often isolated.
“It’s wonderful to see the socializing that’s sparked when the Root pulls into a senior center. Neighbors gather and get to know each other, shop for produce, exchange recipes and catch up,” says Karimah Hay, who manages the Rollin’ Root for AIM.
A rare, cutting-edge feature of the Rollin’ Root is its acceptance of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) along with a Market Match of up to $20 per day, which allows low-income residents to buy produce using CalFresh benefits (formerly known as food stamps). Additionally, the Root supports Senior Ambassadors who provide community outreach and offers educational programs and tastings of seasonal produce to encourage healthier diets and promote community interaction.
Funding for the expansion into West County was provided by a grant from the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation. The Rollin’ Root is made possible through generous support from The William T. Donner Foundation, Inc. and funded through a joint agreement among the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food & Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS), the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) CalFresh Healthy Section, and the Public Health Institute’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition.
The Rollin’ Root is a program of the Agricultural Institute of Marin, in collaboration with additional Marin County agencies to increase access to fresh, healthy food for all residents. For more information, including time and route stop addresses, visit https://agriculturalinstitute.org/rollin-root/.
Andy Naja-Riese, Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM)
Shayla Sosa, Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM)