Filling a Need With Innovative Vending Solutions

An American story about fresh opportunity, and how FoodSpot can help you capture it.
a foodspot smart fridge in a food desert

“Growing Your Own Food Is Like Printing Your Own Money.”

Ron Finley

Ron Finley, the gangsta gardener, grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He noticed in his neighborhood that there were plenty of so-called ‘food items’ but they consisted of pre-packaged, pre-processed snacks and caffeinated, high-fructose beverages that were in no way fresh or whole. He couldn’t imagine these shelf-stable products to have emerged out of the earth below his feet. The only dirt Ron saw was in empty brown patches on the sidewalk near his house. He noticed his neighbors and the children in his community consuming these convenience store products, and the resulting health challenges—obesity, hypertension, and diabetes—that came with such diets.  

In 2010, he did something unimaginable: he planted a few seeds in one of those barren sidewalk patches. He watered and tended to those seeds. And guess what? Beautiful, lush, fresh vegetables grew: rainbow chard, leafy green kale, juicy bright-red tomatoes. From nothing came something bountiful. Through this simple act, Ron found he was able to not only teach his community about better nutrition, but also to provide the tools to help them feed themselves through a delicious horticultural revolution. Ron’s simple act went against the grain. It was gangsta.

man smiling in his garden amidst fresh food
Innovative vending solutions replicate what Ron Finley did in his community

Gangsta: projecting strength on one’s own terms, hip, cool, innovative, revolutionary, resolute, vital, the cutting edge.

It’s oftentimes easier to fall back on what’s convenient in exchange for what’s nourishing. The United States of America is awash in old-school vending machines and fast food. Yet people all across the nation desire for healthy food options, especially in light of recent studies about the effects of ultra-processed foods.

At FoodSpot, our mission mirrors that of Ron Finley’s: make fresh food available where it wasn’t before. Today, we work closely with universities, hospitals, and other organizations to establish food security and food equity in communities across the U.S.  

Like vending machines, FoodSpot’s innovative vending solutions do not require a cashier. However, our shelves aren’t fitted with spiral coils sized to hold M&M’s. Our brightly-lit smart fridges are designed to show off your fresh food, be it chef-inspired salads, house-made pasta, BLT sandwiches, or salmon belly sushi rolls. Today, operators around the country use our next-generation vending solution to put their fresh food in people’s hands. They are the Ron Finley’s of their community. Even if fresh food is available in the community, there could be micro food deserts where people can’t access it, certainly not around the clock: the community center, a local gym, or a hospital.

Want to plant your food in a food desert? We’d love to hear from you!

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Smart Fridge Microstore

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