Build Ivy's Vegetarian Food Truck


A Dream Deferred

I’m Ivy Alvarado, and now I’m 26 years old. My dreams weren’t shattered the day I collapsed, but they were postponed—until now. Everything in my life so far has led me to my new, revised dream—to have a vegetarian food truck: Plant Ivy: Better Burgers For A Healthy Planet, which will allow me to support myself and help others.


Some doctors thought it wouldn’t be possible, but after my coma, I managed to finish high school and take classes at Cuesta College. With the support of family, friends, and the community, I’ve spent ten years in difficult—sometimes painful— physical, occupational, and speech therapy (visit I continue to heal and improve, but much of my therapy is not covered by insurance. That’s why it’s all the more important for me to establish a source of regular income.

Because of my brain injury, my stamina is reduced. This makes my dream of a coffee shop impossible now. A food truck is a more realistic goal. I appreciate receiving SSI, but the reality is that no one can live on $850 a month. I want to support myself.

The Need for a Vegetarian Food Truck

Many cities and towns in San Luis Obispo County have no vegetarian or vegan restaurants, even though people are increasingly turning to healthier food options.

With hundreds of wineries and nonprofit organizations in the county, there are numerous events every weekend—each one a perfect opportunity for a food truck offering tasty, healthful dishes. I already have events lined up, even before I purchase the truck.

How Will It Work?

In the beginning, this is a mother-daughter endeavor—a partnership between my mom, Melinda Alvarado, and me. As the business grows and I do more and more, it will give me the opportunity for financial independence, to take care of myself— an investment in the rest of my life.

We will serve vegetarian shakes, fries with an assortment of spices and dips, and a variety of vegan burgers, including a to-die-for black bean burger and the amazing meat-like “Impossible Burger.” In time, we will expand the menu to include other vegan options.

We are fortunate and very grateful to have the guidance of three business advisors: Neil Higgins, Business Instructor at Cuesta College; Christina Dillow, Director of Operations at Fig Café at Courtney’s House, in Templeton; and Christopher Borrello, of Borrello’s Pizza & Pastaria, in Carpenteria.

We have our business license and tax I.D. number as a catering business.

Now and in the Future

The initial aim is for me to support myself. But as the business expands, I will employ one disabled adult on each truck, in collaboration with Courtney’s House, a nonprofit resource center for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities ( ). I want to empower my employees and am committed to making the work environment a happy and fulfilling place.

With each burger or meal sold, I will donate to Alternative Neurological Solutions (See  and ).

How You Can Help

I am asking for both your financial support and help in spreading the word to all your friends. One way to do this is to share my link on your Facebook Timeline.
Thank you! I can’t wait to see you visiting my food truck in the very near future!

Donations (0)

  • Jessi Rose 
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Semu Torres 
    • $20 
    • 6 mos
  • Beverly Gingg 
    • $250 
    • 8 mos
  • Penelope Duckworth 
    • $30 
    • 9 mos
  • Cynthia McCabe 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos


Melinda Alvarado 
Arroyo Grande, CA
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