Farmers market produce is always better than the grocery store, but it’s not always as convenient. A Boston-based nonprofit design collaborative called Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange (BR+A+CE, or “brace” for short) recently unveiled a pedal-powered alternative that allows the farmers to bring the goods to you instead…without a huge truck or nasty carbon emissions. The Mattapan Mobile Farmstand is a human-powered mini-market. Using smart design principles, BRACE outfitted a typical trike with a folding system of trays that allows a single person to haul up to 150 pounds of fruit and vegetables.
According to Wired, BR+A+CE designed its own version on a large-framed tricycle with a unique cargo box that contains four bays on two levels, each of which holds two produce bins. Here’s how it works: A delivery person wheels their way to a centralized stop, say in a food dessert neighborhood. The delivery person then unlocks the two cargo box lids and pulls one edge up to rest on the frame. This allows for the contents of all bays to be displayed at once. People can shop around, selecting produce from all eight bays. When all sales are over, the boxes are simply resealed, and lowered to their traveling position until the next stop.
The initial mobile farm stand was created through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and a $4,500 grant from the City of Boston. This year, the trike operated exclusively in the mostly Caribbean Mattapan neighborhood. BR+A+CE plants to expand the number of stops next season and possibly also the number of days it operates each week. They also plan to add a second mobile farm stand if more funding becomes available.