Navy Veteran Helping Farmers, Customers in Colorado Food Deserts by Selling Produce at Affordable Price

by Quentin Blount

Access to affordable produce just became a whole lot easier for many residents who are residing in Fort Collins, Colorado. That’s all thanks to the efforts of one Navy veteran.

It has long been a goal for Ralph Ford to provide access to affordable, clean produce to those in nearby Colorado. He has been making his way to cities where fresh food is hard to come by — areas often referred to as food deserts — in an effort to lend a helping hand. However, after seeing his rent increase, the odds are seeming to stack against him.

“I love what I do. I wouldn’t give anybody anything I wouldn’t eat,” he said.

Ford told Denver Channel 7 News that his landlord recently raised the cost of his rent. It was raised to a number that the Navy veteran simply could not afford. He said he tried to negotiate but the two couldn’t come to terms on a new deal. That led to Ford’s landlord giving him a 30-day notice to vacate the property.

“It’s sad,” he said.” I just sometimes think, I just wish it would be a little bit more reasonable and try to work with people.”

Sad indeed. You’d think that a person who not only served his country, but also helps provide people with fresh food could catch a break.

“I just miss the people,” he said.

Navy Veteran Has Bigger Plans

Ralph Ford is trying to turn his negative experience into a positive one for others. Despite not being able to afford his rent, he isn’t giving up his side gig. Providing fresh produce for those in need is too important to the Navy veteran. As a result, he has plans to take his business on the road.

“I’m trying to build a mobile produce store,” Ford explained. He said that he’s working on turning a trailer into a cooler. That will allow him to take his business to those in need around the state.

He also gave readers an inside look at how he plans to execute his business plan. If all goes well, he will be able to travel longer distances, and keep his food as fresh as ever.

“It’s just the flexibility of options to be able to go wherever I need to go — if I want to go to food deserts, along that line,” he said.

He estimates that the trailer will cost him approximately $16,000. And as of right now, he is doing everything on his own. With no help, Ford thinks it could take him two or more years until he can realistically bring his dream to fruition. So, for the time being, he will continue to sell produce out of his van.

“Oh no, I can’t do it. I have to do it this way right now.”