Tag Archives: community food connections

Food Truck Friday - Short Leash Hotdogs

Taking It To The Streets On Food Truck Friday

The Phoenix public market and Food Truck Friday stimulate the community and economy.

Each Friday on Central and Fillmore, students, seniors and dressed-down businessmen and women mingle and munch at an event that not only satiates the appetite, but stimulates the economy, too — the Friday Food Truck event at the Phoenix Public Market.

In 2010, the Phoenix Street Food Coalition joined forces with the Phoenix Public Market to create the first Food Truck Friday event, which launched that November with five trucks. Since then, the event has had to adapt to the growing number of patrons.

Brad Moore, owner of Short Leash Hotdogs and founder of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, says the number of food trucks has doubled, increasing from five to 11.

“(Food Truck Friday) has been instrumental in helping food truck owners grow their business, and I think its helped to contribute to the overall awareness and success of the Phoenix Public Market,” Moore says.

The Phoenix Public Market recently added a covered patio with family-style seating where customers are able to converse and catch some shade. Moore says, on average, about 750 customers attend each Friday; and it’s quite the diverse group, too.

“We’ve seen everything from stay-at-home moms and those in the workforce, to senior citizens taking field trips to the Market, ASU classes reserving tables and civic groups,” says Cindy Gentry, executive director of Community Food Connections. “We’ve seen quite the range of people.”

Gentry, Moore and Cindy Dach, director of Roosevelt Row, all agree that the weekly Food Truck Friday event helps strengthen the sense of community within downtown area.

“It has a significant impact,” Dach says. “The success of Phoenix relies on the experience. People want to walk and bike and see a familiar face. The Market is a catalyst for that community impact.”

Because of the growing success and popularity of the event, the Market has added Wheel Food Wednesday to its events calendar, which features about nine food trucks. They have also extended the time of Food Truck Friday an extra half hour. They’re even planning to expand the venue’s space — into the street.

“Because the event is growing and more people are attending,” Gentry says, “the next frontier is to close off the street.”

For more information about the Phoenix Public Market and its weekly events, including Food Truck Friday and Open Air Saturday, visit foodconnect.org.

Produce

Local Non-Profit, Phoenix Public Market, Offers Food Connections

All across Arizona, communities are growing nutritionally. More farmers’ markets are opening in cities statewide, and areas that at first had difficulty finding homegrown and fresh food now have more options close by. A driving force behind this change is the non-profit organization known as Community Food Connections (CFC), based in Phoenix, Ariz.

Cindy Gentry, founder and executive director, started CFC in 2002.

Phoenix Public Market, Photo: Mark Caron

“The motivation was to create opportunities for low-income families, in particular to move beyond needing emergency food assistance by creating programs and developing and supporting policies that increase access to healthy food, while supporting local food production and distribution,” Gentry said.

Since its launch, CFC has gained $600,000 to support two food programs for low-income seniors. They have started a farm-to-school program in Arizona and founded the Phoenix Public Market in 2005.

The Phoenix Public Market, much like Farmers’ Markets across the state, is a unique program and currently the largest open-air market in the state. Local, small-scale agriculture and local artists and crafters showcase their work and products at the market.

farmers market, Photo: Mark Caron

“The difference between our market and many of the others is that it is a program of the non-profit Community Food Connections where we are actively working to create jobs, support micro-business development, help keep farmers on the land and create a vibrant gathering place in what has been a blighted area to-date,” Gentry said. “We are working actively to establish a public market like they have in other great cities of the world.”

CFC is in partnership with other non-profit organizations such as Arizona Homegrown Solutions, the Phoenix Permaculture Guild, the Association of Arizona Food Banks, LISC, and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives. Their work and goals are geared towards self-sufficiency rather than the emergency and supplemental support that many other food programs offer.

“Our goal is to help create community food security – focusing on growing the assets of the community to make it possible for every person to have adequate, affordable, safe and culturally-appropriate food at all times that maximize self-reliance and social justice,” Gentry said.

For more information or to contribute, visit www.foodconnect.org.