ORLANDO, Fla. — Earlier this year, Zak and Robyn Wallace opened Local Green Orlando, Walt Disney World’s first Black-owned food truck.
The couple also owns and operates Local Green Atlanta, a fast-casual restaurant that provides healthy vegetarian and pescatarian food options in Vine City.
“We wanted to come down here to Orlando, and make a footprint here at Disney, but really go into other communities that are comparable to a Vine City and be able to offer some of those same healthy options,” Robyn Wallace said.
Robyn Wallace said that when she and her husband were first opening their Vine City location, they were told that people in that neighborhood were not interested in healthy food options.
One year before they opened the brick-and-mortar location in 2018, Zak Wallace started the Local Green food truck. He wanted to serve healthy foods to people living in Atlanta’s food deserts.
“When we were in the throes of COVID, we were able to use our food truck to go administer food to the homeless community in Vine City,” Robyn Wallace told The Atlanta Voice.
With its heavily plant-based menu, Local Green offers a range of options that are not often found in low-income communities.
Food deserts and food insecurity have affected rural and low-income communities for decades, with the pandemic only exacerbating the issue.
According to data published by the USDA, non-Hispanic Black households experience food insecurity at double the national average. In Atlanta, three out of four residents living in a food desert are Black.
Local Green has also partnered with US Foods to provide classes where they teach people in the community how to make healthy snacks and smoothies at home. They then provide the boxes of food and supplies so that people can also have healthy options in their homes.
“We don’t believe in just giving food away, because I don’t believe that that is really going to change how people do things if they’re not taught,” said Robyn Wallace.
She continued to say providing the information and the tools they need is what allows people to change their eating habits.
“We’re hoping that once we get this fully up and running, that we can go into Orlando and do the same thing,” said Robyn Wallace.