What’s even better than grocery store delivery? Mobile grocery trucks. These might be coming to a neighborhood near you if you live in Denver, due to relaxation of zoning and permits, according to Denver City officials.
While these trucks are common in most other countries, like the truck in the photo below from the U.K., currently there is no governance around permitting them in neighborhoods in Denver.
But public health officials as well as Parks and Recreation from the City think this is the key to relieving food deserts in the far north and the far north-east of the city where poverty is high and grocery stores are not within close walking distance.
On Friday, officials said that the Office of Public Health and Environment, Office of Human Resources and Parks and Recreation are all working together to ease the regulations on licensing to allow mobile groceries to enter neighborhoods. Officials will be making recommendations to the Mayor soon to change current licensing and permits.
We are starting to examine the whole category food and retail. We are all witnessing more and more food trucks, but mobile grocery doesn’t fit within that licensing structure. In regards to planning and zoning, food trucks are not allowed in residential areas …so we are working with Parks and Rec to do permitting in a parking lots.”
Will consumers want to buy?
Some argue that the legalization of mobile markets will not succeed as consumers are may be wary of the safety of the food and the vendors that sell them. Consumers are also not used to this type of purchasing behavior.
Steve Lockhart, co-founder and operator of Any Street Grocery , a relatively new and growing mobile grocery business in Denver, said that people will become more comfortable with food trucks when they have a consistent schedule in those neighborhoods.
Food insecure neighborhoods, or “food deserts,” such as Green Valley Ranch and Montbello are Any Street Grocery’s main target, he said.
The community can depend on us to be McGlone [neighborhood], for instance every Thursday, from 3PM to 5PM.” Lockhart said.
The success of these business will also depend on educational partnerships, a City public health official said.
All of our agencies representatives work with partners who offer educational services in food and nutrition. The vision is to partner with organizations such as Cooking Matters to provide healthy recipes and education. We will partner with educational providers, while we provide the access.”