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Local Grocer Discusses Opening in Food Desert

Woman holding produce

Marquitrice Mangham opened Farmacy Marketplace in 2022, a 2,500-square-foot neighborhood grocery store specializing in fresh foods and meats sourced from local farmers, rather than the frozen and processed foods commonplace at the local dollar store, reports Black-led nonprofit news source Capital B News.

Mangham led the initiative through her nonprofit, In Her Shoes, to help improve health outcomes and food accessibility in rural communities and Black neighborhoods, according to the report.

“There was only one grocery store in the whole county, and that was 15 to 17 miles away from most residents in the county, and some even farther. [With] In Her Shoes, we work closely with farmers and help them to grow their business or at least sustain their business over time,” said Mangham. “We work with farmers who are growing but not able to reach those populations that need it… They’re throwing their hard-earned food away because it’s rotting, meeting its shelf life prior to them actually being able to sell it or reach people who want to buy it.”

The USDA Economic Research Service found that, when dollar stores show up in low-income, rural, and Black communities, grocery store closure, job loss, and declining sales are more common.

“Fortunately for us, we’ve been able to sustain ourselves even though there is a dollar store in the community,” said Mangham. Full Story