Back to Eden

Unconventional Outreach Through Plant-based Food Truck
June 17, 2019

The Hurst Seventh-day Adventist Church sits on a small plot of land along a busy highway in a mixed commercial, industrial and residential area of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Across the highway from the church is a used car dealership and a beauty salon; behind the church are residential homes.

James Milam was the Hurst church’s new pastor when he gathered together with members in late 2017 to consider the church’s mission, it’s surrounding community, and the words of Ellen G. White in her book, The Ministry of Healing: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”

The group pondered how to creatively interact and impact the community around the church and beyond. The church put together a plan that included a food truck, a church garden, a bee apiary, an artisan and farmer’s market, community classes—and much more—but the first order of business was to get the food truck up and running.

“Our Back to Eden food truck serves what we call fast, comfort food, but it is entirely plant-based, from our ‘meat’ to our ‘cheese.’ I personally love the street tacos,” says Milam.

The food truck employs two managers and has a dedicated group of volunteers who cook and serve from the food truck Monday through Friday outside of the church and during the church’s twice-monthly artisan and farmer’s market. They are available for events and catering and plan to venture to area business campuses in order to introduce the plant-based cuisine to a wider audience.

“Getting people to try this food gets a foot in the door for them to try more plant-based, healthy food,” says one of the truck’s managers and Hurst member, Steve Garrison (pictured). Milam says that in addition to serving tasty food and introducing new health concepts, each meal comes with literature and a schedule of upcoming life enrichment classes at the church’s newly remodeled kitchen and classroom building, “The Hive.” These classes include basic family budgets, marriage enrichment, effective parenting, basic car care, reversing diabetes, and healthy and tasty meal preparation.

Milam says that he hopes to see all of the intended plan to interact with the community in action by the end of this year, and is ready to share the concept with other churches. To inquire about how your church can start a “Back to Eden” food truck and to learn more about the Hurst church’s Hive concept, visit

By Jessica Lozano, Editor and Southwestern Union Communication Director