A majority-Black community in Mississippi has gone decades without close access to a grocery store that sells fresh meat and produce until this October.
Marquitrice Mangham, the owner of Farmacy Marketplace in Webb, Mississippi, runs the only grocery store in the small Delta town.
According to Mississippi Today, the neighborhood grocer’s mission is to help solve the town’s long-struggling food system by providing small-scale farmers access to sell their crops and shoppers fresh meat and produce.
“A huge amount of food waste goes on in the Delta because everything is so sparsely populated,” said Mangham, who heads the nonprofit that runs the new Tallahatchie County grocery store. “No supermarket business is going to contract you to buy 20 pounds of tomatoes every couple weeks.”
Before having access to Farmacy, Webb, some residents reportedly drove between 18 and 25 miles to stores like Walmart in Clarksdale or to SuperValu in Charleston to purchase poultry, steak, fresh fruit, and veggies.
“It saves people money, and instead of investing in gas, they are able to purchase more groceries,” said Webb Mayor Michael Plez.
The grocery’s location is in the heart of the town’s Main Street, allowing most citizens within walking distance to run their shopping errands.
“It’s a symbolism of growth and rebuilding the community,” resident Demetrice Starks said. “It’s helping bring some type of stability.”
According to Feeding America, a 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture report found nearly 20% of Black individuals lived in food-insecure households. With an approximate population of under 400 people, Black people make up 97% of Webb’s community.
“Since the day it opened it has been a blessing to the community,” said Plez.
Mississippi Today reported that Farmacy Marketplace is open seven days a week. As of Nov. 1, the store began accepting Electronic Benefit Transfers, or EBT payments, for those on food benefits.