Food Truck + Food Desert = Win Win Win!

submission by curiouscatalyst

Organization Name

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Curious Catalyst

Website

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www.curiouscatalyst.com

Indicator

Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Health

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?

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Imagine what would happen if a large supermarket chain deployed a small fleet of re-imagined food trucks into the neighborhoods lacking access to fresh, healthy meals - neighborhoods where dialysis centers are popping up faster than the fast food joints that surround them...

Food deserts are the perfect storm of many social, political, and economic factors, not just access. Many families simply can’t afford more nutritious foods, whether from traditional supermarkets or farmers markets, which have become more upscale than democratizing; single-parent or so-called latch-key homes often lack time to prepare truly healthy meals; and years of compounded challenges have meant that many residents of food deserts no longer know how to cook fresh, tasty meals from scratch.

Food trucks in Los Angeles have been the province of the upper-middle classes – serving up specialty foods to those who can track their locations on Twitter via smartphones and word-of-mouth. But if we reframe the basic notion of food trucks, we have the potential to reach populations in need and can deliver much more than just mobile grocers, which are cropping up in places like Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. The massive scale of Los Angeles, prototypical of a mega-city defined by its sprawl, calls for a more versatile solution to address the complex dynamics underlying the health crisis spreading in food deserts.

Enter Curious Catalyst. We’re a unique consultancy – more Swiss Army knife than agency - using agile and lean methodologies, credited for revolutionizing change in technology, to explore and rapidly iterate within urban solution spaces. We believe that the old methods of top-down urban planning are worse than outdated – they’re irresponsible. Our cities are changing so fast that we must use new approaches to experiment, refine, and address real-time, relevant solutions for our communities.

Picture an established supermarket chain, in need of new revenue streams but unwilling to take a chance in less economically-developed neighborhoods. Now, consider the movers and shakers in that community who dream of opening restaurants, sharing recipes, and feeding their families back to top health. Finally, how might we work with the existing Mom and Pop corner stores, who can’t afford to lose business to new markets, even ones that offer healthy alternatives. Until now, no one has considered how to come up with a win-win-win situation. But Curious Catalyst specializes in finding new middle ground, which benefits all stakeholders.

The CC Food Desert Food Truck pilot will explore how to leverage the distribution chain of an established supermarket brand, to offer prices that truly compete with fast food meals for the first time. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, the CC Food Desert Food Trucks will provide a selection of prepared foods to help introduce new flavors and recipes, for families who may not have time to cook. We’ll explore highlighting local LA chefs from different communities who promote simple, delicious, straightforward healthy eating. And, in order not to drive out neighborhood businesses, we will test partnering with existing bodegas and corner stores to set up regular schedules in an effort to drive more business. In the long run, we can even imagine using the trucks to truly catalyze change, letting the supermarket use the existing bodegas as mini-marts while the trucks move on to a new section of the neighborhood!

Given that lack of access to basic nutrition impacts the ability to maintain engagement in education, long-term health forecasts, and stable employment potential, enabling regular access to fresh foods and education around eating habits can rebuild a foundation of wellness in food deserts. A modest investment in offering true food security has major impact later on the cost of medical services provided by the city, as well as the opportunities then available to the residents of lower income neighborhoods. And this kind of health intervention is not only good for us but also a way to fuel social connectedness – food trucks are fun!

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

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Curious Catalyst is a new consultancy that employs agile and lean methodologies typically associated with disruption in ICT to drive transformation and innovation in urban planning. Composed of a senior corps of emerging platform strategists, Curious Catalyst engages subject matter expertise as well as citizen stakeholders to develop breakthrough MVPs. We use a license model to incentivize project pioneers to open the core of the solutions we develop to other mega-cities. For example, when we design a business model for addressing food deserts in Los Angeles, the plug-and-play core “Experience Blueprint” will be released to other cities for a nominal license fee; this positions the pioneers as leaders in a given area of urban challenge but benefits the broader global community while providing upside to the initial stakeholder. And we provide consulting services for localization and contextual adjustment.

This disruptive business model was developed by founder, Kaz Brecher, as part of an accelerator project at THNK, the new Amsterdam School for Creative Leadership. The members of the Curious Catalyst team have collectively worked on strategy and implementation of solutions for everyone from the Library of Congress to Microsoft, and Disney to Oprah. We’ve done hundreds of agile sprints in emerging platforms, and our expertise is easily applied to the complexities of urban challenges facing Los Angeles.

The company has garnered support from some of the top architects and urban developers in the world, as we’re building our Advisory Board. And as passionate believers in user-centered design, we are committed to genuine collaboration with all constituencies when developing approaches to these solutions.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

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Since we aren’t investing in long-term infrastructure yet, we’ll approach a passionate Food Truck Pioneer, who'll let us use their staff and truck; involve a Chef to help strategize on meals and produce; work with a community group, like Farmworks, to navigate existing neighborhood relationships; and we’ll collaborate with a supermarket to test the realities of tapping into their distribution supply chain. We’ll invite participation from food justice Subject Matter Experts, as well as food entrepreneurs, non-food space design thinkers, and citizen stakeholders among others. The goal is to balance orchestration of innovation processes while allowing the emergence of unexpected, community-driven strategies by having the right mix of people.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

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As with any lean Minimum Viable Product (MVP), our goal is to learn what resonates in the community and with all stakeholders and what needs to be adjusted – with both qualitative and quantitative data. The food truck is only one method of using a more distributed approach to bringing healthier options into food deserts. So, the primary goal is to demonstrate the potential, both socially and economically, for this method of disrupting the cyclical, endemic challenges that comprise food deserts – bringing access to healthier foods as well as opportunity to gain employment as part of the changing landscape and ecosystem.

In this sprint, we will test several elements of how food trucks promote health and food security in food deserts. These parameters could include: the variety of fresh produce SKUs and prepared meals; whether healthy frozen foods are more easily sampled; ways to collaborate within the existing neighborhood structures with Mom and Pop businesses; possible models for franchise versus scaling a fleet; using rotating trucks to catalyze small bodegas as micro-mart locations for major markets; and the kind of POP materials needed to make the offering attractive and informative.

The sprint may be evaluated on several elements of the test, depending on how we define the MVP: cost of providing an affordable, healthy meal for a family as compared to a fast food option; interest and uptake of these meals; percentage of fresh produce purchased versus prepared food; interest in recipes handed out from the truck; buzz in the neighborhood around the idea and return visits to the truck. Analysis will be conducted at the end of the prototyping phase, with an eye to short-term and long-term scaling indicators.

A successful MVP is one that points the direction for the next sprint, providing new data and discovery about hypotheses, and gains traction from the community around the core proposition. Needless to say, food deserts are not a new problem. And various groups have attempted to make a dent in the issues and impact on Los Angeles. We deeply believe that it’s time for a new approach. So, rather than evaluating this effort merely on what works and what doesn’t in the MVP, Curious Catalyst will consider this a successful sprint if we demonstrate the potential for this new agile urban method to tackling the complexity of the entrenched food desert challenge.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

There is no reason that the simple pleasures and benefits of fresh food that are enjoyed by citizens in Santa Monica can’t be found in any other corner of the city. Like a small house that is expanded room by room, until the wiring is a disastrous fire hazard, the LA sprawl has created pockets of neglect that leave citizens with unequal opportunity and weaker connections to the prosperity that the rest of Los Angeles enjoys.

And childhood obesity is a problem that is having a tremendous impact on not only the state's physical health but also its financial health. According to a report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, California spends more than $21 billion in public and private money on healthcare and other costs because of obesity, which increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases later in life. Access to better basic nutrition tends to prevent longer-term chronic diseases, adding a buffer against the ramifications of lack of insurance.

The CC Food Desert Food Truck project will prove that it’s possible to bring affordable access to fresh, healthy foods into neighborhoods in South or Central Los Angeles through new approaches, while exploring ways that the trucks could deliver even more benefit. For example, a fleet of trucks could: create new jobs, provide education around eating habits and the causes of childhood diabetes and heart disease, offer new flavors and cuisines in areas where fast food is the only option, and create a sense of festivity with a regular schedule, building more social cohesion into neighborhoods.

But this is just the beginning. Los Angeles could fast be positioned as a leading innovator in food security issues, by taking this rapid iteration approach in the context of public/private partnership – testing everything from multi-use trucks (meals combined with basic health monitoring from time-to-time) to franchises for anyone interested in starting a new business. The point is to START! We can’t wait for more task force reports or think tank strategies. Involving residents in creating the city in which they want to thrive would be a success in itself. We give power back to the people, while we facilitate a vision for a healthier Los Angeles.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

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The only boarded up buildings in South Central Los Angeles will be the old dialysis centers, a reminder of services no longer needed. Food truck drivers will be as beloved a neighborhood institution as the ice cream truck driver of the 1950s was. The cost of chronic health care needs will have dropped significantly, and more taxpayer dollars can be reallocated to community gardens and planting food forests along parkways.

Los Angeles will see a decrease in rates of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, an increase in high school graduates from neighborhoods formerly known as food deserts, and the proliferation of new small businesses focused on food, from corner stores to restaurants to artisan goods. Disparities in chronic diseases and health outcomes between those living inside and outside of the food deserts of the past would be indistinguishable.

As basic nutritional needs are met in every corner of the city, today’s young people and families will be better able to contribute to their own prosperity – pursuing educational and employment opportunities, giving back in their own neighborhoods, and shaping the next 50 years of Los Angeles.

Discussion
69 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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I'm really interested in healthy food options for children and of all the submissions I've looked at in this challenge, this idea seems to have thought through the most challenging issues. This is a fabulous idea and I can really see it working in neighborhoods like my own - a true food desert.

by Refinnej
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks so much for this vote of confidence! We're starting to hear this sentiment echoed, and I listen more closely to those who live in the deserts themselves!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I am a Registered Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Public Health and I think your idea is fantastic!! I wish you all the best and hope to see your food trucks on the road soon!

by jean.metter
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks so much, Jean! We've been chatting with loads of people, from the Smart Cities Hub to the urban farm The Growing Experience, and it's nice to know we've really covered the bases here and get stamps of approval from supporters like you!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is a fantastic idea! I wish you the best.

by hbcopeland
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, much! I hope we get the chance to share it!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great idea. And even more importantly the method and drive behind getting ideas out there and adapt them untill they work is what will make this project succeed .

by robert.wolfe.3133
over 1 year ago | Reply

Glad you see the benefit of an agile approach! Indeed, it's less about the specifics here and more about a framework for guided, informed experimentation to rapidly derive solutions with feedback loops for evolving and improving!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

If any Angelenos have thoughts about which grocers or trucks to seek out as partners - and why you feel that way - I'd love to hear your ideas...

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I love love LOVE this idea. I have been a keen observer of (and occasional participant in) everything that has been going on in the clean/local/slow food movement over the past decade. And I have been most dismayed at how little progress has been made in the area of accessibility. We ALL deserve reasonably-priced, easily-accessible, clean food. If the green-grocer part of this works, can you consider adding clean meat to the offerings? A mobile butcher would be awesome.

by cappuccinomovie
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes! Makes sense! I think we can take cues from what's working in farmer's market...and, as with many changes, innovations often need time to take root...it also might make sense to consider packaging offerings differently. For example, selling meat in smaller quantities or cuts paired with produce that can make a meal. Either way, we definitely want to do iterations on a variety of factors! Glad to know we get the stamp of approval from a slow food afficionado!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Hi Kaz

I did a food research project in Dundee, Scotland where vans were used in the 50s and 60s to reach the population of city dwellers who had moved to the outlying suburban developments being established on the outer city boundaries. It was local butchers and grocers who decided that if the people couldn’t get to the local shops then they would take their products to the people. It worked. This is a very good idea as we imagine everyone being able to access supermarkets nowadays but sadly there are many groups, in particular the elderly, who do not have transport and cannot carry bags home.

I wish you every success with your project!

Best wishes
Jackie

by jackie@arcvisual.com
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, Jackie! Very true, and every constituency needs to be considered. I watched my grandmother sink further and further into isolation from afar as her mobility was impacted...the beauty of an agile approach is that we can start, get traction, and then do mini-sprints to address needs of different groups. So, for example, what if we even used the trucks a mini-local depots from which we could hire younger people to do bike deliveries in their area (cuts down on use of gas and pollution and creates even more jobs!). I'll definitely think on this and hope to do you proud!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Directly engaging the community to address urban development issues is the best way to achieve focused and sustainable results. Your approach seems effective for a number of reasons:
1. You've identified a potent issue that's hyper local with global implications
2. You are translating/applying industry-specific methodology in ways that would open up new possibilities
3. You aim to balance the micro (contextual solutions) and the macro (knowledge transfer)
4. You are "doing and learning" rather than "talking and hypothesizing"

Excited to see this project evolve. Good luck!

by Sharon Chang
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, Sharon! From a change-agent such as yourself, the perspective is heartening that you see how this is different from the ways people are tackling issues now...and not making much progress. We need real change, and real innovation! And I'm honored to have your vote!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

The simplicity of this idea makes it a real winner. The idea can be translated into areas across the world. The education of communities into healthy eating is fundamental in combatting the diseases and infections which make ground and spread far too easily. It's about taking control ourselves and not relying on governments to do it for us. Their agenda is not always in the best interests of the people. Well done - this is an amazing idea.

by sue.d.cesare
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks so much, Sue! I do agree that this combines nice elements of "top-down" orchestration and "bottom-up" creativity to adjust and fit the idea to the people it can server best! For this first prototype sprint, simple is almost always best, and often in the long-run, too. So, I've been enjoying chatting with food producers and chefs who do simple, delicious, and healthy meals...let's get it done!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Agile methodology has really interesting potential in this context. Rapid iteration and study of all of the factors mentioned seems like a much more holistic approach to promoting health and awareness. The food truck idea comes across as something very in touch with people's needs, while still maintaining a fun community feel (like ice cream trucks). Great idea!

by dweissberg
over 1 year ago | Reply

So glad you get the potential of the idea! I like that there is more focus on exploring all of the factors and adjusting than coming up with just a "killer app" angle for something this complex! But fun is always key in there, too, if it's going to get legs!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Such an innovative idea for tackling L.A.'s "food deserts." I'd love to hear the mayoral candidates address this topic....

by tim.grierson.5
over 1 year ago | Reply

YES! Let's make it happen! I've got some friends who know Eric Garcetti, and I suspect he'll have wonderful perspective on this...but hearing the candidates in general on our LA2050 ideas would be rad!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I applaud your efforts. I wish I knew more about the fabric of your city to better understand and visualize your plan at work. I understand the need to provide healthy choices to inner-cities and its good to see someone who appears to be on the pulse of brining about change.

by gooffgoff.photos
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks! I'd love to know what challenges you see in your own city...we can learn or be inspired from other models, and I hope that we're able to take the agile approach to iterate and adjust whatever we design in LA to apply to other mega-cities...

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Such an innovative idea for tackling L.A.

by tim.grierson.5
over 1 year ago | Reply

Sounds like a great way for the food deserts to start integrating better foods. Hard to believe we don't all have equal offerings in grocery stores. Great challenge to tackle. Way to go!

by melaniep
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yeah, a friend mentioned to me that when he moved to Rodeo and La Brea, the "cheese" section at Ralph's near there just has white cheese or yellow cheese in blocks or slices. That's it. And you wonder, does that shape how the families in the area think of cheese and why does Ralph's get to shape our knowledge of options? Did they perhaps end up with those because the other stuff didn't sell? Or was too expensive? These are all elements in figuring out how to democratize access to healthy, tasty, affordable options...

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I love this idea! While I completely understand needing to partner with a supplier that can consistently deliver food to the trucks, I was wondering if retail grocery stores were the only option. While they may be your best bet initially, have you explored the iras of working directly with food distributors or manufacturers? Just trying to think of ways to keep costs down. Good luck! Can't wait to see where this project goes!

by stacey.cavinessbrecher
over 1 year ago | Reply

That's idea not irus! Ha!

by stacey.cavinessbrecher
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, Stacey! Working with wholesalers is a very interesting idea. Indeed, part of the focus Curious Catalyst has is on how mega-cities differ because of SCALE - and the need to push prices down is really key, along with using their distribution mechanisms...I'll look into wholesalers, as well!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Kaz, what an interesting and exciting prospect. I think a perfect fit for this would be the Fresh and Easy Markets, which are having a bad go of it. Their current model is not working and this may be just the thing to shake it up. Plus it fits with their goal of going into underserved markets. I have a friend who used to freelance for the company. Lemme investigate potential contacts.

by graceofgroove
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, Grace! This discussion of the right "fit" has been a very lively debate with the team...I understand Tesco is pulling back all Fresh and Easy stores, but if they stick around, it's the right mental modal. I've been considering Trader Joe's, as there is also an interesting prepared and "culture-agnostic" (if that's even the right term) aspect to how they approach business. But this is definitely part of the experimentation!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I love this! It reminds me of those mobile reading libraries that bring books to underprivileged areas. So many children are growing up with fast food and 7-11 being their only food choices. If we want to control healthcare costs and have a healthy, productive population, it starts with basic nutrition.

by shellen
over 1 year ago | Reply

Ooooh, I love the reading wagons. And I hear they're making a comeback in far flung places across the globe, as more children lack access to basic education...I'll definitely look at what worked well with those on how they changed things up over time - varied the books, measured what was "popular," or introduced new genres, so we can funnel those learnings into the food truck endeavor!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

This seems like it will take a lot of coordination (locally and otherwise), which will hopefully lead to its great success! Taking it to the streets is a fab idea! I would think the messaging should be "tasty" first (like Elana, I think that part is often overlooked - but it's really important to motivate the eventual consumer), then "affordable." (The "convenient" and "healthy" parts should take care of themselves within the plan.) And a big issue of the food revolution is feeling like it's snooty rich people (yes, Gwyneth, we mean you) trying to shove it down ignorant poor people's throats (literally, in this case) without understanding all the variables, like cost/timing. So the local, grassroots coord. is key. Good luck! Keep us posted on how to help the cause...

by rsnyder8zsbcglob
over 1 year ago | Reply

Ha! I'm definitely sensitive to the implied connotation of "we know best"...which isn't really true. Every family has different needs and priorities, so the agile approach should help us suss out ways to adjust based on different variables. The problems with rigid masterplans is that they often end up catering to the least common denominator, which is never one-size-fits-all but more often one-size-fits-none. We'll definitely keep in mind your tasty-first preference!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

This seems like it will take a lot of coordination (locally and otherwise), which will hopefully lead to its great success! Taking it to the streets is a fab idea! I would think the messaging should be "tasty" first (like Elana, I think that part is often overlooked - but it

by rsnyder8zsbcglob
over 1 year ago | Reply

This project is extremely innovative and exciting. As a homeowner in a lower income neighborhood in suburban L.A., I am all too familiar with the steady stream of foot traffic traveling up and down our street to the local corner market, which is basically a petri dish for diabetes. I would LOVE to see one of these Food Trucks making a daily stop at our corner. One very serious consideration: gangs. They own turf in many food deserts. Home Boy Industries might be a great resource regarding this issue. They are an amazing organization. Wishing you profound success.

by pam.forrest.73
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks, Pam! Love that you raised the gang issue. Part of our hope is that we can create jobs through partnerships for folks in the community - whether on the trucks or working with the food distribution chain or at the corner stores. I had considered Homeboy Industries early on, and they have a project submitted for LA2050, too! I'll definitely be on the lookout for the right local partners. So, I appreciate your endorsement for Homeboy!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

As a father of 3, I have struggled to answer their questions like " What if healthy food was more affordable than fast food?" The thought of healthier choices being available at the local corner is a perfect solution! My wife and I have often dreamed of a healthy and fast way to feed our family outside of our home, and Curious Catalyst has come up with a winner! What a great idea!

by jimmy.cahill.758
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks for the support, Jimmy! Indeed, it's an interesting question if you reverse the economics...and I've talked with several people specializing in future scenario planning. Just imagining the city through a lens where healthier fare is cheaper than fast food makes me feel hopeful!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

It's wonderful seeing all of the comments...as we're going to need a partner for the truck itself, does anyone have any favorites that seem like a good fit? My dream pick is Roy Choi, of the Kogi BBQ empire! I think he'd be perfect as he's not only one of the trailblazers in the world of food trucks but also is a true Angeleno in his origins...do you have any other ideas?

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I am born and raised in LA and have witnessed firsthand the surprising spread of fast food places, even amid a market which has access to tons of fresh food.

We

by yoram.heller
over 1 year ago | Reply

Looks like your comment was cut off, as many have been - so sorry! But it IS surprising! Why is it that in a city where we have SO much fresh food all around us, it's still hard to come by affordably?!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Very exciting project and totally up your sleeve. Love seeing how you disrupt old models within the urban fabric and using an agile approach to make an impact. I

by gunterwehmeyer
over 1 year ago | Reply

Glad you agree. One of the benefits of a project like this is that we can show there new ways to work on old, recurring problems...and I haven't seen the same kind of revolution in urban prosperity that we've seen in ICT as a result of agile experimentation...

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I love the agile nature of this plan, that it can grow in a number of iterations to suit the needs of the users. I can see this being applicable in many other cities too!

by emer.beamer
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yes, yes! Curious Catalyst uses a business model that will take the core "experience blueprint" from what we devise, based on the deepest user needs, and make that available to other cities who have similar citizen/city structures...and the iterative agile approach is really critical for exploring and learning as we go, so the solution doesn't just look good on paper but really sings in practice!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Great concept - perhaps consider the power of the truck as well. LA may well have access to LNG as a truck fuel. This would be both cheaper and cleaner (even sponsored perhaps) and adds another element to the narrative. Who knows you might even use the LNG cold to cool the food...

by roland.kupers
over 1 year ago | Reply

Ah, the truck! Thanks for pointing that out, Roland! I definitely would hope that we could harness some of the same clean fuels that have powered successes like the Big Blue Bus across town. Some of the food trucks here run on vegetable oil, so we also could go the biodiesel route...but then it smells like fried food coming down the street. I'll start to investigate!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

As a food blogger, athlete and someone who loves to eat, I

by elana.iaciofano
over 1 year ago | Reply

My post got truncated! Here is what I meant to say: As a food blogger, athlete and someone who loves to eat, I'm always wondering why "healthy" recipes don't taste better. If it doesn't taste good, people won't eat it! It's not that hard to create great-tasting meals from few ingredients—it's part of why I focus on Italian cooking. Can't wait to see what you develop!

by elana.iaciofano
over 1 year ago | Reply

Maybe we could learn from YOU, Elana! Your blog has tons of amazing healthy but DELICIOUS recipes - with good food density and ingredients. I think we're seeing a theme from the food lovers out there that it IS possible to make food tasty without all the salt, sugar, and fat which will kill us in the long run!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

This is an excellent idea! As a vegan, the option of having fresh and healthy fast food is sparse. Options at Trader Joe's are limited and Whole Foods is costly so to have this food truck provide an alternative is delightful. Further, the concept of partnering with the local grocer to create a fresh food foundation for the neighborhood allows for people to not only envision but actually have more choices than the deep fried french fries on the corner. Changing the mindset towards fast food changes everything! Go Kaz and Curious Catalyst.

by Jae.B
over 1 year ago | Reply

Ah, great points! I wonder how many families would like to have vegan options if they could? Certainly, it's a great way to keep more vegetables in diets. I had been thinking about a breadth of cultural cuisines, but we could also explore always having one veggie and one vegan meal available...will definitely ponder. Thanks!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love the idea Kaz, wishing CC all the very best. There are many sub-groups -- senior citizens, people who are sick, or recovering from illness, new parents, etc. -- who may be living in isolated food deserts amidst plentiful supply. Another agile iteration for the food truck - how about fresh food delivery, somewhat like the coop model? If I may expand this idea further, maybe the food truck can be the central node at its stop, while neighborhood youth can be bike messengers serving as satellites delivering fresh food to the neighborhood. Added benefit of youth employment? Sorry, may have gotten carried away, but you asked. ;-)

by nadodi
over 1 year ago | Reply

Awesome ideas and points here! Love the idea of using the truck as a mini-hub for further distribution. I definitely think that there's a "phase 1" type effort, and then the truck has multiple potential uses for additional services and benefits as it grows. And the idea of marrying more employment than just the truck, the shop owners, and the supermarket is a great plan!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

I recently ate fast food because the juice place was closing down (at 8PM), and the only other option near where we were was a Carl's Junior ....so our dinner quickly went from green smoothies to french fries and milkshakes. If there was a healthier option I available we would have gone for it, but we were crunched for time so had to make do with what was available.

by mckinney1
over 1 year ago | Reply

You're right! I hadn't even thought about that...but I was recently overseas for a job, and we happened to be up way past my usual bedtime, but there were terrific kebab places open, with healthy options that totally hit the spot. I wonder what the equivalent could be here...maybe the food truck roams around later at night, open for hungry souls?

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love this idea! As a single father of 2 small kids who is trying to teach them to eat better, I don't always have tons of time to think up options for them that fit into the requisite of being "fast and healthy." And while there are more Trader Joe's and Whole Foods cropping up, they are still sparsely located so I am often stuck with whatever is local. I can only imagine that this problem is magnified by the hundreds in places in East and South LA.

by Victor.Varadi
over 1 year ago | Reply

Victor, I'm sure you are far from alone in this challenge. I find it's hard enough to feed MYSELF healthy food, let alone set a good example when pressed for time and what's easy and nearby...I'll consider you and your kids test subjects and future customers!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love this idea! As a single father of 2 small kids who is trying to teach them to eat better, I don

by Victor.Varadi
over 1 year ago | Reply

Since agile iterations are all about exploring different aspects of a challenge, what other factors do you think we should consider in why food deserts happen? What are the reasons you choose to eat fast food, when you do, instead of healthier options?

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love this project. I would assume that education would be a key factor. Not just nutritional info, but also how to cook some things. I would assume, if the people living in food deserts are anything like me, if I see something and don't know how to cook it, I'm unlikely to try to make it and therefore eat it, unless someone puts it in front of me - either as a meal or a super-easy recipe.

by john.baumgartner.39
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thanks for the reminder, John! Indeed, finding ways to not only distribute recipes, which happens in some markets today, but also really provide cooking expertise could really help. There's an amazing womens program in the UK where they pair "grannies" with single mom's to learn their way around a kitchen better! I hope we can explore what works best for the groups here in LA...

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love this project. Educating seems to be a very important aspect. Not jus nutritional info, but also just how to make certain foods. I would assume, if the people living in food deserts are anything like me, if I see something and don

by john.baumgartner.39
over 1 year ago | Reply

Voting for you Kaz!

by rolandsmart
over 1 year ago | Reply

As a huge fan of yours, Roland, it's an honor to get your vote of confidence that Curious Catalyst has the team to pull this off. Of course, as an agile entrepreneur yourself, you may just get invited to participate in one of our ideation workshops if we get the award! Stay tuned...

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

What often influences my decision to grab something to go rather than cook from scratch is both lack of time and lack of imagination. I think that there can also be a certain "fun" factor to fast/prepared foods that something like the food truck might be able to overcome. I

by susan.stoebner
over 1 year ago | Reply

Love your noting "lack of imagination" as a factor...context and social norms definitely shape how we eat. And I'm always fascinated by the many kinds of street foods you find in different cultures. Delicious, easy to grab and go food has been really limited by our car culture in the US...we could use some imagination here!

by curiouscatalyst
over 1 year ago | Reply

Pink-ribbon-award-box-icon
Award_topvotedidea
$1,000,000 in total grants
Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08

Comment-icon-large Have some feedback for us?
We're all ears
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