RFP: Mobile Market Operator – Go Fresh Mobile Market
The Go Fresh Mobile Market seeks a new Mobile Market Operator that will lead the twelve year running successful Go Fresh Mobile Market as a financially viable, efficient and key source of healthy food for the communities it serves.
The Go Fresh Mobile Market is a food access project that has served food insecure households of Springfield for over ten years. Go Fresh operates an oversized van with a “produce stand” providing local, affordable, fresh produce 4 days/week during May-October serving 10-14 stops per week during the work day hours throughout 11 of 17 neighborhoods in Springfield. Go Fresh sites include housing, senior centers, mosque and health care centers. During the COVID- 19 pandemic, Go Fresh pivoted to an Emergency Food Distribution program and was implemented in collaboration with Wellspring Cooperative, providing free fresh produce boxes to residents impacted by COVID-19 through partnerships with Springfield Housing Authority, senior housing, senior centers, health care and community organizations.
Go Fresh is a project of the Live Well Springfield coalition, a community movement to support healthy eating and active living in Springfield, Massachusetts. LWS works to reduce chronic diseases and eliminate health inequities among low income communities of color. The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts manages the program, facilitating the Advisory Committee, leading outreach and communications, fundraising and evaluation. The Mobile Market Operator (most recently the Wellspring Cooperative and the YMCA of Greater Springfield) oversees its day to day operations, including staffing, vehicle, produce purchasing, financial transactions, EBT license and transactions, accounting for inventory and reporting.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from healthcare, GTC, farmers, housing, City of Springfield, CISA, UMass Extension, and Mosque 13 and provides support and guidance for the program.
The Go Fresh Mobile Market has successfully increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income people with food insecurity and residing in food deserts. Go Fresh sells produce at cost and makes it easy for SNAP recipients to receive the Healthy Incentive program benefits, as well as offering vouchers for other customers in order to make it affordable for low income residents. This endeavor is a critical strategy to addressing the food insecurity issues in this region, as well as supporting local agriculture.
PHIWM and the Go Fresh Advisory Committee have identified the need for a long term
sustainable partnership with a market operator that can take over all the operations
components and make Go Fresh a financially viable, efficient and key source of healthy food for the communities it serves.
The Go Fresh Mobile Market was created with the explicit goal of opening up affordable,
healthy, culturally appropriate food access to Springfield residents, with a focus on those most in need — low income families who are food insecure and individuals living in “food deserts” or areas of the city lacking easy access to a full service grocery store or to other farmer’s markets. The project is designed to support the local food economy by buying seasonal produce grown by local farms as close to Springfield as possible. We have developed intentional partnerships with farms which share a similar food justice orientation (such as Gardening the Community and Wellspring Cooperative). We prioritize the purchase of organically grown, chemical free, pesticide free, and naturally grown fruits, vegetables and products and also consider the farms’ emphasis on sustainable growing practices. In addition, the Advisory Committee is committed to building the capacity of Springfield (and beyond if program grows) residents of color from the communities served by the market to staff and manage the market, so that it becomes a truly community-based and community-run project on every level.
Goals for the Go Fresh Mobile Market:
- Successfully provide access to fresh, affordable, and local produce at 10-12 stops acrossSpringfield
- Extend the market season and develop strategies for making the market more sustainable over time
- Strengthen the leadership of Springfield residents, particularly people of color, in market management and operations
We are looking for a Mobile Market Operator who will bring these commitments into every
level of the market’s operation.
In the past, the Advisory Committee and PHIWM have played important roles in Go Fresh. The Mobile Market Operator, the Go Fresh Advisory Committee and PHIWM typically sign an MOU yearly to collaborate on the programming.
Below are the proposed roles for future, which will be negotiated with the new operator.
The Role of the Operator
- Comprehensive program coordination
- Communications as the operator sees fit
- Oversight of day-to-day operations and
- Participation on the Advisory Committee
The Role of the Advisory Committee
- Provide advice on yearly planning (stops, programming, new sites)
- Feedback throughout the season from community partners, customers
The Role of PHIWM (funding dependent)
- PHIWM LWS Manager will convene the advisory committee as appropriate
- Promotion of Go Fresh on 413Cares.org
- Provide evaluation
- Advise and provide technical assistance to Mobile Market Manager during transition
Funding for the Go Fresh Mobile Market comes from the produce sales, grants and
sponsorships. Over its history, Go Fresh has received funding from various sectors including healthcare, health insurance, foundations, the City of Springfield, banking, and colleges. Current funders and sponsors include: Beveridge Foundation, Community Foundation of Western MA, Baystate Health, Health New England, Trinity Health of New England, Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, Davis Foundation, Beacon Communities, Way Finders and the Mass Food Trust.
Duties and Qualifications for the Mobile Market Operator
We seek a Mobile Market operator with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to social and racial justice who understands and believes in social ventures and can identify and develop creative strategies that will move the enterprise towards higher levels of self-sufficiency.
Program Coordination Duties
- Lead fundraising efforts including grantwriting and sponsorship program.
- Lead program communications and outreach to site coordinators, residents and funders.
- Solicit sponsorships including outreach, tracking and acknowledgement of sponsors.
- Conduct outreach and lead communications with site coordinators and create schedules with community partners involved in activities in collaboration with and complimenting the Go Fresh Mobile Market Project.
- Lead promotion and outreach for the market in coordination with Leadership Team
- Coordinate evaluation efforts and reporting to funders.
- Arrange for any parking permits for sites on the street.
Day to Day Operations Duties
- Employ Mobile Market manager and associate.
- Manage payroll for Mobile Market employees.
- Manage day to day operations of the Go Fresh Mobile Market.
- Manage all forms of sales, including cash and electronic sales: Credit, Debit, EBT/HIPvouchers WIC/Elder Coupons
- Own, insure, register, and maintain the Go Fresh Mobile Market Vehicle
- Set up procedures for set up/closing of market and vehicle.
- Order produce and manage all deliveries, communications and payments with growers;ensure quality of produce sold
- Track inventory including what is ordered, sold, donated, and composted
- Track sales with point of sales software and prepare monthly and seasonal reports for
- Purchase needed equipment and supplies and keep track of inventory
- Manage all levels of fiscal accounting for market including making timely deposits andpayments to vendors
- Identify Mobile Market funds as independent project in order to distinguish costs and expenses of project versus other programs/ business lines.
- Provide monthly financial reports for review by the Advisory Committee
- Maintain a separate EBT machine for the Go Fresh Mobile Market project.
- Attend Advisory Committee meetings.
- Perform end of season assessment of vehicle, equipment and supplies and required reporting documents
- 501 (c)(3) status or fiscal sponsorship in place, preferably for more than two years
- Ability to own vehicle and insure employees as drivers
- Staff Management experience, including the back-end capacity required to manage theprogram (product sourcing, hiring, food waste management, etc.)
- Successful fundraising and grantwriting experience for current organization
- Standard organizational accounting practices;
- Experience with Point of Sales software, specifically Square, or ability to learn it quickly
- Strong customer service practices, including ability to relate respectfully and in a culturally competent manner with families and individuals served by the project
- Experience with marketing and promotion practices
- Has a working knowledge and established relationships with Springfield communities who would benefit from the market
- Experience and Fiscal capacity to accept all forms of electronic payment, including
SNAP/HIP through use of EBT machine
- Relationships with a variety of farms and food sources to support product diversity
- Entrepreneurial spirit; commitment to social and racial justice
- Openness and experience with working with an Advisory Team to govern and guide Go
Fresh through transition.
- Open to exploring sources of produce that are used in the cuisines of local immigrant communities, such as Central American, South American, and South East Asian cuisine
The Advisory Committee expects this transition to occur over 12 months depending on the new operator. Yearly budget is ~between $45,000 and $100,000 depending on the amount of days/sites that are scheduled. There is partial funding for the first year of market which typically starts planning in February and begins selling in June through October. The new Mobile Market Operator would determine this as they see fit/with the Advisory Committee.
Responses to this Request for Proposals should be sent to the Samantha Hamilton, Live Well Springfield Manager, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org no later than November 1, 2020, and must include: Narrative responses to questions below as well as Organizational 990, latest organizational audit or financial statement and biographical sketches for key staff.
Please answer each question in under 200 words or less. Narratives should be no more than 5 pages double spaced in total.
1) Describe your organization’s experience in supporting healthy food access programming.
2) Describe your organization experience and commitment to race and health equity; communities in Hampden County
3) Describe your organizations ability to own, staff, maintain and operate a truck/vehicle
4) Describe your organizations ability to oversee and execute a program like this: marketing, sales, communication with community based members
5) Describe your organizations fiscal management structure for fundraising, tracking expenses and reporting
6) Describe any exciting ways you might augment the current Go Fresh Mobile Market Program
The Go Fresh Advisory Committee will review proposals and select an operator based on
capacity to handle the scope of services and fit with the qualifications outlined above.
- September 30, 2020: Request for proposals released
- November 1, 2020: Deadline for proposal submission
- December 1, 2020: Deadline for operator choice
- January – February, 2021: Initial transition process and planning for next market season begins