In a matter of days, someone vandalized and burglarized New Britain Roots’ farmers market truck twice.
Joey Listro is the executive director of the nonprofit and says in the three years the truck has been parked behind the New Britain Housing Authority building, it’s the first time this has happened.
“One week ago we noticed we had some minor vandalism. There was theft of the power cord that refrigerates the truck overnight,” said Listro.
A week later, on Friday morning, he found the back door of the truck taken off the hinges and hundreds of dollars’ worth of produce stolen off the shelves. He says a cash box inside the truck was also taken as well as the power cord. Listro estimates the cost of the two incidents at $1,500.
“All of our funding is primarily through grants and donations. We don’t make any money off the produce that we sell,” said Listro.
Started in 2013, New Britain Roots works to increase access and affordability to locally-grown food. They’ve brought gardens to schools and sell produce bought from local farms to city residents at cost or lower.
“If you’re paying with SNAP or food stamps, we actually cut the price right in half for customers who are using their federal benefits. The goal is to really make these foods more available and accessible for them to consume,” said Listro.
Listro says they actually need a second mobile farmers market truck to meet the demand. After asking for help on social media to find cooler space for produce while repairs are made, local businesses offered a hand. Regardless of how soon they get the truck back up and running, for New Britain Roots the priority is to continue their farmers market program.
“Our work is really hard as it is. It’s harder now because of COVID, and the people that work for New Britain Roots and with us work really hard. To see this happen, to slow us down, has really impacted how we can move forward,” said Listro.
There are cameras where the truck is parked, and Listro says police are investigating. They’re looking to move the vehicle to a more secure location once it is fixed.
If you’d like to donate to New Britain Roots or learn more information about the nonprofit, click here.