Pensacola’s food truck scene flourishes 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic

This story has been updated to correct a mistake that appeared in the original version. The name of the Greek’s Catering and Events food truck co-owner is Stelios Peterson.

Food trucks were a bit taboo in Pensacola five years ago. Now, they’re everywhere in the city in 2021, representative of a shift in the restaurant industry, at least temporarily.

Today, you’ll find food trucks morning, noon and night serving customers at neighborhood subdivisions and apartment complexes and in the parking lots of bars, breweries and other businesses all across Northwest Florida.

But in 2015 and 2016, food trucks were so foreign to the city’s ecosystem that their regulation was constantly in question and their very existence was contentiously debated by some local businesses

Cook Demitrius Arnold, left, and owner Kendrick Hobbs plate a mac and cheese burger melt July 13 at the new Melt food truck in Pensacola.

“The restaurants were all up in arms against them and everything, and food truck ordinances were being passed around and passed on by City Council over

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Sandusky County Food Pantry seeing greater need during pandemic

FREMONT – Larry Faist always tries to keep the Sandusky County Food Pantry well-stocked with food orders.



a man standing in a kitchen preparing food: Sandusky County Food Pantry President Larry Faist loads up a box with food for one of the county's residents Wednesday at the food pantry's Bidwell Avenue location. The food pantry has seen an increased demand and a high amount of referrals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


© Daniel Carson/The News-Messenger
Sandusky County Food Pantry President Larry Faist loads up a box with food for one of the county’s residents Wednesday at the food pantry’s Bidwell Avenue location. The food pantry has seen an increased demand and a high amount of referrals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s become an increased challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, owing partly to difficulties in getting food orders from normally reliable grocery stores, combined with heightened demand from the county’s neediest residents.

Faist, the food pantry’s purchasing agent, usually does the bulk buying for the pantry.

He used to get a lot of food that the pantry ordered from Kroger and Aldi.

Recently, he’s placed orders for cases of rice, corn and green beans that haven’t shown up for weeks.

“They just

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Nutrition program offering migrants culturally sensitive food choices thrives during pandemic

Growing up, Leila Cassandra Bocanegra, 26, was used to eating the traditional Mexican food her parents, immigrants from Monterrey, would make. She acknowledges that some of the food, consisting of lots of tortillas and breads and meats, were heavy. 



graphical user interface, application: Iluminada Vilca (highlighted) offers nutrition education courses via Zoom for migrants who would otherwise not have access to the program.


© Iluminada Vilca, Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County
Iluminada Vilca (highlighted) offers nutrition education courses via Zoom for migrants who would otherwise not have access to the program.

But with the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) run by Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension in Monroe County running several clinics in the Finger Lakes, Bocanegra and her family have learned that it’s possible to eat healthy while also eating foods with cultural significance. 

“You can still have the food you love, but you need to read nutritional labels, and have balance,” said Bocanegra. 

The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is a federal initiative started in 2014 which looks to make fruit

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Racism targets Asian food, business during COVID-19 pandemic

As the coronavirus spread throughout the U.S., bigotry toward Asian Americans was not far behind, fueled by the news that COVID-19 first appeared in China.

Some initial evidence suggested the virus began in bats, which infected another animal that may have spread it to people at one of Wuhan, China’s “wet markets.” Such markets sell fresh meat, fish and vegetables, and some also sell live animals, such as chickens, that are butchered on site to ensure freshness for consumers.

The information quickly got distorted in the U.S., spurring racist memes on social media that portrayed Chinese people as bat eaters responsible for spreading the virus, and reviving century-old tropes about Asian food being dirty. Fueling the fire, President Donald Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as “the China virus.”

“That old-school rhetoric that we eat bats, dogs and rats — that racism is still alive and well,” said Clarence Kwan, creator

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