Friday, January 25, 2019

Starting a Good Food Business in Your Neighborhood

Looking for opportunities to start your own small mobile food business? The City of Fort Worth has changed two policies reducing required permit fees to help you do just that! With relatively low start-up costs, launching a produce cart or mobile market is a great way to bring fresh produce directly to neighborhoods that are underserved or unable to sustain a multi-vendor farmers market. This guide will give you the facts on what’s allowed and where to find additional resources to get your fresh and healthy business started!

Produce Cart

The new policy allows:
  • Pushcarts that offer whole, uncut produce in residentially zoned neighborhoods
  • Produce carts may be up to 4’X3’X6'
  • Cut fruit prepared in a commissary kitchen, a licensed, commercial kitchen often rented to caterers and food truck operators
  • Sales can be made from residential sidewalks and from property used for non-residential purposes with permission from the property owner
  • Operation between 7 am and sunset in residential neighborhood

Mobile Food Market

The new policy allows:
  • For sales from a truck, bus or other vehicle that sells fresh fruits and vegetables along with other food items
  • No permit fee is required if selling only whole, uncut produce
  • Permit fee is reduced if 75% of its goods are whole, uncut produce
  • Sales can be made:
    • As a transient vendor in one place for up to 60 minutes
    • From non-residential lots with permission of the property owner. Examples include churches and schools.
    • From a vacant lot in nonresidential districts with a valid Vendor Certificate of Occupancy. Examples include commercial, industrial or mixed-use districts. 


Starting a new business and steering it toward success can be daunting. There are never any guarantees, but there are resources and support available to guide you along the way. Here’s a few organizations that can help:

City of Fort Worth Consumer Health Department 
Provides guidance and permitting for food businesses and mobile food vendors. or 817-392-7255

Fort Worth Business Assistance Center
Provides business plan assistance, workshops, loan assistance. or 817-392-2622

SCORE Fort Worth
Provides expert volunteer mentors, free workshops and resources. or 817-871-6002

Small Business Administration
Provides resources and support to help you plan, launch, and manage your business. or 1-800-827-5722

Chambers of Commerce
Local business associations dedicated to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as advocacy, talent development and more. 

          Fort Worth Chamber or 817-336-2491
          Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber or 817-871-6538
          Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber  (817) 625-5411

TCFPC Community Gardens & Urban Ag Working Group
Provides support and expertise for garden and agriculture initiatives.

This material was developed by the Tarrant County Food Policy Council and Blue Zones Project Fort Worth. For more information on these organizations and their efforts to support good food in our region, please visit and 

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