Fresh fruit and vegetable market opens in ‘food swamp’ Booker Washington Heights neighborhood

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:46 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A new pipeline of healthy food has opened in the Booker Washington Heights neighborhood.

Wednesday morning, the “Good Food Market” opened on Farrow Road as a collaboration between The Dollar Sto’ and FoodShare South Carolina.

RELATED STORY | ‘It’s just something perfect for the community:’ Dollar Sto’ provides fresh produce, household items in Columbia area food desert

Sto’ owner Brian Thomas is purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices (arranged by FoodShare) from the South Carolina Farmers Market.

FoodShare volunteers ran a tent outside of the business where the produce was re-sold. The prices are set at a slight mark-up to aid future produce purchases and the revenue goes to Thomas.

He said the market is filling business and community demand. Elderly and underprivileged neighbors in the area often lack the transportation or financial resources to regularly shop at grocery stores.

“The community needs it. There’s no, you can get canned pears, canned peaches, canned whatever. People want fresh peaches, fresh plums, fresh whatever,” he said.

FoodShare Community Outreach Coordinator Gabriel Wilhelm said the market is helping a community he describes as a “food swamp,” an area where food is available, but not healthy.

He said he’s hopeful the market will spur broader change.

“That rock that hits the water and has all the ripple effects. Just start eating some things that are better for you, you stay in school longer, you don’t have to go to as many doctor’s appointments, you’re saving money on doctor’s appointments,” Wilhelm said.

The market is expected to be open regularly on Wednesdays, with it running on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..

Leftover produce will be available in the store.

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