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By Chrissy Teck
The Furtile Turtle is a slow food truck, an offshoot of the Fertile Underground Natural Cooperative. We plan to bring healthy, local, and nourishing produce and food selections to areas where there is currently no access. We'll also have delicious and hearty prepared foods to choose from, tried and tested recipes from our family that have been cooked and shared for years. The truck is also going to work in collaboration with Pasture to Plate (pasturetoplatekitchen.com) to provide on-farm dinners, educational workshops, and opportunity for local farmers to produce value added products.
How much money are you trying to raise and how will you use it?
We are goaling to raise at least $15,000. Approximately $12,000 will be used to retrofit the food truck, finishing both cosmetic and electrical repairs to get the truck certified for food prep and sales. $3,000 will be used to purchase a commercial press juicer to bring healthy, nourishing juices to both the Fertile Underground Grocery and the Furtile Turtle out in the community. Any further moneys raised will go towards further improvements in the Grocery, including increasing inventory.
How will your venture rock the world? What's your vision?
The Furtile Turtle venture will transform a traditional-style food truck normally laden with artificial and unhealthy foods in a way that not only provides healthier and more locally based options, but connects people with their food sources. The food truck will help bring a certified kitchen into the hands of the farmer, and opens the food exchange from the farmer to the people in the most direct way possible. The focus on natural, local, and healthy foods will help stimulate both the local economy and collective community health (as well as everyone's appetite!)
Tell us three reasons why you think your venture will be successful.
1.) Simple. 2.) Healthy. 3.) Street food. That's the basics. It's going to be fast, on the street, and healthy. And also delicious. It's the first food truck in the area with a focus on providing the freshest food possible, often times being brought directly from the farm to your neighborhood. The fact that we have access and connections to the slow food movement through Fertile Underground Grocery will provide us immediate access and trust to working with RI farmers. The overlap with the Pasture to Plate Kitchen will only solidify this idea further, and ensure that the food truck will be utilized in many ways to provide access to healthy foods. We are also offering CROP CASH - or gift certificates - back to the truck when you make a donation. So you're getting something tangible in return, in the form of a promise that we'll get the truck working for you! You will receive CROP CASH good at the truck when you make a donation. Here are the levels: $11 - STUCK ON YOU - Furtile Turtle die-cast full color special edition sticker $22 - HIGH FIVE - HIGH FIVE Crop Cash Certificate (worth $5 in food at the Furtile Turtle) $44 - COOL COMB - COMB Crop Cash Certificate (worth $25 in food at the Furtile Turtle) $77 - TERRIFIC TIDE - TIDE Crop Cash Certificate (worth $50 in food at the Furtile Turtle) $99 - AWESOME ARC - ARC Crop Cash Certificate (worth $75 in food at the Furtile Turtle)
What's the back story? What led to the birth of this venture?
Farmers figuring how to make a strong living, getting the freshest food to people. We consider dynamic selling of fresh produce, both prepared & natural. Also a desire to bring non-farmers into the food movement, with food jobs in hand with farmers.
Tell us about yourself. What skills and experience do you bring to this venture?
Michael, the originator of "Furtile" as a farm-food truck, has been farming just over 5 years, and simmered opinions from older farmers into new ways of imagining local food sales. We have a bunch of family style recipes our crew have been perfecting for years. We also spent the last 2 years opening the FU Grocery in Providence. Cooking, organizing, leading the way, and getting out of the way, are Michael's key to success in this project.
What inspires you to do this work?
Wresting our food supply away from corporate control and working toward better standards of living/ compensation for organic farmers. Transitioning young people into active work in the food movement. Bringing people together to eat, that creates family.
What is your favorite food experience?
Making wine from wild fruits and berries we would stalk. Adding raw goats milk to my coffee, directly after my morning milking routine. Sharing spicy zuke lasagna in a falmouth MA farmhouse, then eating a frozen lemon poppy bread, which was the final piece of frozen food baked by the hostess' deceased grandmother. The pinnacle of her recipe.
Anything else you'd like to share?
We are a worker-cooperative, started without much else than the dedication of a few people decided to change direction. Our group formed in order to grow food in abandoned properties. We built on that success, and wrapped our whole lives in it. We now have a dozen working members, an intrigued community, and more volunteer interest than we can process. The wheels are spinning, and we keep growing.
Blizzard Nemo is on its way, and we are prepared for whatever comes our way.
Today, we felt a leap of faith from our neighborhood as you chose Fertile Underground Grocery for your pre-storm needs. We were thrilled to see all the local milk, bread, eggs, meat, and produce leaving our shelves into your hands, knowing that the food would be cooked and shared with your family, friends, and neighbors as the blizzard comes through.
In the same way that we serve the West Side of Providence 7 days of week, sun or snowstorm, we are eager to take our mission to the road and serve areas without this kind of local, healthy food access. The Furtile Turtle can make that happen. Our community can make that happen.