At the Northwest corner of Park Avenue and 53rd street in New York City, you will find a totally different yet refreshing kind of food cart. This unique “Organic Cart NYC” not only serves certified-organic food, but it is powered using free energy from the sun. This new twist on street food is a pilot project being undertaken by Alberto Gonzalez, owner of GustOrganics, the only certified organic restaurant and bar in NYC. The cart offers wholesome organic items like hummus, salads, spinach omelette, empanadas, goulash and serves super-purified spring water in bio-compostable cups.
These carts are truly green, with locally sourced food, environmentally friendly packaging and meals that are cooked using renewable resources. The best part is, that it is affordable. A 100% organic meal can be had for under $10, including tax. The cart is also equipped with an orange juice machine, so freshly squeezed juice is made to order. But don’t expect to find anything on this cart that comes in a plastic bottle. Alberto is adamant about his stance against plastic bottles, because they all-too-often end up in landfills.
The success of Organic Carts NYC is based on community support. If the effort is embraced, the company’s plan is to launch 2 or 3 more carts before the Spring of 2011 and they aim to add 50 more carts in the next 5 years. The pilot project is funded by every single customer that comes in and supports GustOrganics and the money is thoughtfully invested into the carts. Although Alberto expects the carts to be profitable, he isn’t doing this for the money. “Of course we need it to be financially sustainable, but we look first to goals like nutrition, social aspects and environmental benefits.”
This triple bottom line perspective comes because the organic movement is in Alberto’s blood. Growing up in Buenos Aires, Gonzalez developed a deep appreciation for and true connection to nature and its offerings of tomatoes, oranges, avocados, strawberries, broccoli and corn. Upon traveling to NYC some ten years ago, Alberto recalls, “New York is one of the most sophisticated societies in the world. But I didn’t like the food. It wasn’t fresh. I realized I took for granted the freshness and quality of food in Argentina.”
Now he is bringing the freshness from his roots to the streets on NYC. These organic, solar powered carts are another important piece of the growing food revolution, demonstrating that “fast” food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Next time I am in the Big Apple, I plan to make a special trip to midtown and get an organic empanada. I suggest that youz guyz do the same.