Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that following his effort, Philadelphia’s Food Trust has been awarded a $150,000 grant that will allow the successful Night Markets food truck events to continue. The Night Markets have brought food trucks to neighborhoods across Philadelphia- showcasing the city’s entrepreneurs and stimulating economic activity in local communities. With the food truck industry growing in the city, the Night Markets have had an $11 million impact on the city’s economy. In March, Casey urged the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to award the grant to The Food Trust.
“Night Markets has enlivened Philadelphia's neighborhoods and helped small business owners gain more exposure" Senator Casey said. “This grant will allow this successful program to continue and help more of our city’s entrepreneurs launch small businesses that create jobs and attract visitors to Philadelphia.”
“This grant will allow us to work with Philly-based food entrepreneurs so they can bring more delicious food to events like Night Market,” stated Yael Lehmann, Executive Director, of The Food Trust. “Senator Casey is truly a champion of efforts to grow our local food economy. “
According to the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association, there are approximately 200 food trucks in Philadelphia. Funding from the EDA will allow The Food Trust to provide training to at least 100 food entrepreneurs to help them start or expand their businesses and provide technical assistance to about a dozen new food businesses. Several of the participating food vendors in the Night Markets have gone on to open brick and mortar restaurants. Funding from the EDA will help to support more businesses to grow and hire new employees.
Senator Casey’s March letter to the EDA is below:
Dear Mr. Taylor:
I write to reiterate my support for The Food Trust’s application seeking funding through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to create a Philadelphia Food Entrepreneur Program. It is my understanding that you are in the final steps of your review of The Food Trust’s proposal.
As you may know, The Food Trust currently runs a successful Night Market program which features restaurants, food trucks, local produce and neighborhood art and culture throughout the summer. Night Markets are among the City’s largest and most popular special events and bring thousands of patrons to diverse neighborhoods across the City. The business done at the Night Markets allows food entrepreneurs to showcase their products, attract new customers, and bring in a jolt of revenue. The effect of this spending ripples throughout the region and stimulates economic growth and job creation. Several food trucks participating in Night Markets have now gone on to opening successful bricks and mortar locations.
Since its inception in 2010, The Food Trust has hosted twelve Night Market events, attracting well over 200,000 attendees to neighborhoods all throughout the City and yielding aggregate spending of about $7.2 million. It is estimated that Night Market Philadelphia produced $11.4 million in economic impact and supported 123 jobs within the City. These events are further estimated to have had an additional $4.3 million in economic impact within the Commonwealth.
Building off the positive outcomes of the Night Market program, The Food Trust wants to create a new initiative that will incubate mobile food entrepreneurs and other small food businesses. The goals of this program will be to grow these businesses, facilitate job creation, and attract investment and tourism to emerging neighborhoods. Specifically, the Philadelphia Food Entrepreneur Program will provide training for at least 100 food entrepreneurs to help them start or expand their businesses, provide technical assistance to 12 to 15 new food businesses, and stimulate demand for and sales of fresh local produce from regional farmers.
Awarding The Food Trust funding to support food entrepreneurs will create continued opportunities for economic growth in the region. Thank you for consideration of my views.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator