Street food in New York City is about to step into the future. Later this month, a fleet of 500 eco-friendly food carts will roll out into the city, as part of a pilot program to help vendors prepare cleaner food and reduce air pollution.
The program is being launched by the city and MOVE Systems, a local startup aimed at providing alternative energy sources for mobile food businesses. In an official statement, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, "Small business owners like food cart vendors, are the backbone of New York City’s economy and the fabric of our neighborhoods. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot and thank MOVE Systems for this important effort."
The MRV100 hybrid uses solar power, alternative fuel, and batteries
The centerpiece of the initiative is the MRV100, a cart that uses a combination of solar power, alternative fuel, and batteries as opposed to gas. The carts come outfitted with a full kitchen, featuring both a refrigerator and sink for safe food prep, and are being offered for free to those who sign up. The fleet is being paid for by a combination of donations and private funding.
However, it'll be a little while before the new carts are seen out on the street. The city grants only 2,800 year-round permits, 1,000 seasonal permits, 200 borough-specific permits, and 1,000 fruit and vegetable permits a year, and waiting lists are reportedly long. However, many vendors have already expressed an interest in trading in their carts for the new ones, and the first wave is expected to be launched after Memorial Day.