Document Type


Publication Date



Nutrition, Food delivery, Urban areas, Business models


Define a USDA food desert Analyze the three business models for benefits and deficiencies Identify methods for starting a sustainable mobile farmers market program. Over 40% of Berrien County Michigan land use is agricultural. Many products are fruits and vegetables. Yet, the county has six identified USDA defined Food Deserts. Past research, based on a mobile farmers market, confirmed local trends and deficits. The purpose for this research is to define a sustainable business model that delivers healthy local food options to USDA Food Deserts combating food inequity. A mixed method multiple case study was created to test three business models in one of the local Food Deserts. Results identify a sustainable model that provides local healthy food options. Model One developed lunchtime stops serving robust local businesses and community epicenters, with a goal of creating lunchtime profit, focusing evenings on service stops at a potential loss. Model Two required local farmers to provide produce at no cost to the market. Market locations were service stops embedded inside the residential community and stops increased to 15 per week. Model Three purchased local produce and focused stops on work and shopping locals, targeting the ALICE poverty segment. Models were tested for two weeks each with data collected for correlational comparison. Results show a high demand for lunch hour food options. Labor at such stops was increased over service stops. Model Two proved willingness from local farmers to support neighboring Food Deserts, yet sales didn’t equal market costs. Model Three demonstrated increased demand from ALICE segments. Conclusions indicate that sustainability could be reached with a hybrid model with limited volunteer intern positions. A three to five-year plan should be built with funding support ebbing with market growth.


Poster session: Food/Nutrition Science; Education; Management; Food Services/Culinary; Research

Journal Title

Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics





First Page

Supplement, A50



First Department

Public Health, Nutrition and Wellness

Second Department



Retrieved May 31, 2018, from