GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids residents who want to see more food trucks in the city have a new ally in the effort to improve the city’s food truck scene. The Grand Rapids Food Truck Association (GRFTA), which has been meeting since January, is a coalition of local food truck owners and operators that provide advocacy, support, and education within the local food truck industry and the greater Grand Rapids community. One of their primary goals is to work with the city government to reform regulations and allow for greater freedom for food trucks to operate.
In her recent State of the City address, newly-elected Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss remarked that “food trucks are an entry point for culinary entrepreneurship, and we should aspire to support their startup and evolution.”
“We couldn’t agree with the Mayor more,” says GRFTA President Brennan Summers, owner of A Moveable Feast food truck, “and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the city commissioners to develop a set of food truck regulations that make sense for food trucks and the residents and visitors of Grand Rapids.”
The association was formed with assistance from the National Food Truck Association (NFTA) and it’s founder, Matt Geller. The national association has the same goal as the Grand Rapids association on a much broader scale: to provide resources and support to food truck owners and associations nationwide. Geller also agrees with Mayor Bliss that food trucks are a great starting point for culinary entrepreneurs.
“Food trucks have expanded the culinary landscape of countless cities worldwide. The addition of a strong food truck advocacy organization will help Grand Rapids grow into a healthy mobile vending region and increase consumer choice,“ said Geller.
In addition to advocacy, the association also intends to focus on supporting new and existing food trucks.
“Not only can we provide expertise and resources for new truck owners who are just getting started, but we can also be a resource for existing truck owners looking for a way to jump start their business,” said GRFTA Vice President Paul Lee, owner of What the Truck food truck, as well as the Winchester and Donkey Taqueria restaurants.
“The association also intends to require its members to agree to adhere to an industry code of conduct, designed to guarantee that each truck is a good corporate citizen and responsible neighbor,” adds GRFTA Secretary Abbie Sterling, owner of Gettin’ Fresh Food Truck.
The last aim of the association is to provide education and promote the general food truck scene in Grand Rapids. This will include central booking of food trucks for events, and the association sponsoring their own events.
“We can provide a great service to the Grand Rapids public. Now, if someone is looking to book a food truck for an event, or even just looking for general information on food trucks, there is a central point of contact that will immediately provide them with the combined resources of a large group of food trucks,” says association President Summers.
“And we look forward to sponsoring public food truck events. Food trucks have a remarkable way of building community and bringing people out into the city. Anyone who has witnessed firsthand the great food truck cities in our country knows this, and while we’re not as big as Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., there’s no reason why we can’t have a smaller but equally vibrant food truck scene in Grand Rapids,” he adds. “Food trucks are great at bringing people together, and that’s what we want to do.”
Those interested in learning more about the association and receiving updates on their progress can visit the association’s website at www.grfoodtrucks.org or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/grfoodtrucks), or follow them on Twitter (@GRFoodTrucks).