Every Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we’re in South Memphis where fresh fruits and vegetables are key ingredients.
Olivia Gipson starts making her Sunday meal plan on Thursdays when she arrives at the South Memphis Farmer’s Market.
It’s at the corner of Mississippi Boulevard and South Parkway East. Having access to fresh fruits and vegetables is important for the community.
“We don’t got no stores. We ain’t got no grocery store no more,” Gipson said. “They took our grocery store away.”
That’s where The Works, Inc comes in. They’re a non-profit community development corporation and while working on blight in South Memphis, realized it was also a food desert. So, they created the South Memphis Farmer’s Market.
It is open every Thursday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. from June through September.
Emma Lockridge, just moved to Memphis from Detroit, another city that struggles with food deserts.
“I’ve got green beans and carrots like what bugs bunny had,” Lockridge said. “And when I come and see this…this is amazing. Because, not only are they providing fresh vegetables but they have cooking classes in there.”
The South Memphis Farmers Market was such a hit, the community asked The Works, Inc. if they could create a grocery store so residents could shop for fresh items year around. And they did just that.
Devin Marzette is the manager. “Fresh produce is basically essential to your health because you are what you put into your body,” Marzette said.
They know times are tough so they put two programs into place to help. The Some Fresh Savings card is matched dollar for dollar.
“Up to ten dollars for seniors and up to twenty dollars for anybody that has EBT,” Marzette said.
They also have the Some Green loyalty program. It’s a punch card. For every ten dollars you spend on produce, you’ll receive a punch.
“When you’re card is full, which is ten punches, we give you a free ten dollars you can use in the store,” Marzette said.
Karen Bernard is the Food Program Coordinator.
“Its the south. We’re the Bible Belt, but we’re also the stroke belt, we’re the heart attack belt, we’re all these chronic disease belts because of the things we put in our bodies,” Bernard said. “So, if we learn to make our meals healthier, then we can have longer lives and our kids can too.”
That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give the South Memphis Farmers Market & The Grocer a thousand dollars. Because there should be no barrier to fresh food.
A true Community Changer.