Healthy food is on its way to Prairie View A&M University and its surrounding community thanks to a new mobile kitchen! Learn why it’s so great to have food on wheels in the PVAMU official release below!

Less than a year after its formal launch, the Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) Healthy Houston Initiative (HHI) has unveiled its new mobile kitchen unit that will soon travel around the Houston area serving various communities.

The mobile kitchen made its debut during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the PVAMU Northwest Houston Center on Thursday. The event allowed community partners to get an up-close look at the HHI’s newest tool.

The unit – adorned in PVAMU’s signature purple and gold – features an industrial-sized refrigerator, two sinks, two 4-burner gas stovetops, and a double-stack propane convection oven. It will be used at HHI events to conduct cooking demonstrations with healthy food products taken from community gardens.

PVAMU President Ruth J. Simmons said the kitchen would allow the HHI to continue its work in addressing health disparities and other pressing issues in underserved communities.

“I’m very proud of this effort,” Simmons said. “If we can expand on this and persuade our supporters that this is an effort that will make a difference in these communities, I think it can be a wonderful thing.”

The HHI is a partnership with PVAMU, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Complete Communities Initiative, and The Texas A&M University System, with Chancellor John Sharp as a major supporter. Within PVAMU, the Colleges of Agriculture and Human Sciences, Nursing, Juvenile Justice, and Business work together to develop programming that uses a portfolio of educational, healthcare assessment, and outreach programs.

The program also partners with community- and faith-based organizations, school districts, youth agencies, and local businesses to offer nutrition and wellness workshops, virtual and face-to-face programs, health screening, nutrition demonstrations, and community gardening activities.

Since its inception, the HHI has reached 12,000 individuals in its target communities of Third Ward, Second Ward, Near Northside, Gulfton, Acres Homes, Kashmere Gardens, Sunnyside, Magnolia Park – Manchester, Alief – Westwood, and Houston – Fort Bend County.

“I believe that HHI takes our university to the people, and it’s in this spirit that we are delighted to be of service to the communities of Houston,” PVAMU College of Agriculture and Human Sciences Dean and Director of Land Grant Programs Gerard D’Souza said.

With 20% of Houston residents living in poverty and a median household income of $31,000 in high-poverty areas, HHI Program Coordinator Nkem Anyasinti believes the program is uniquely positioned to make an impact.

“Prairie View has a very strong pull in the community through the Cooperative Extension Program. They’ve been doing work in Houston for over 40 years,” she said. “But having an initiative solely for Harris County under Prairie View will be great for the community.”

Now that the mobile kitchen is ready to hit the road, it’s already in high demand.

The vehicle is currently booked through the remainder of this month and will appear at community gardens and farmer’s markets within Acres Home, Sunnyside, Second Ward, Third Ward, and other neighborhoods targeted in the Houston Complete Communities project.