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Farmacy Marketplace in Webb works to fight area’s food desert issue

Photo courtesy of Farmacy Marketplace

One Mississippi native has brought locally-sourced produce, deli meats, and more to communities in the Mississippi Delta by opening her own grocery store.

The 5,000-square-foot store called Farmacy Marketplace is located in one of the largest food deserts in the nation, as the majority of residents are forced to travel over 30 miles to reach the nearest grocery store. According to owner Marquitrice Mangham, there was only one other grocery store located in Tallahatchie County before she opened her marketplace around seven months ago.

“We would have to get out of town if we wanted groceries,” Mangham said. “It just didn’t seem right and a lot of people felt the same way.”

Since opening in October 2022, Mangham — a third-generation farmer— has provided fresh produce, meats, and other items to the 400 residents located in Webb with the help of local farmers and other vendors.

“It is a smaller neighborhood grocery store. It’s about five or six thousand square feet,” Mangham explained. “But we do have everything that a larger grocery store would have. We have a great deli section. We get praise for our variety and quality of our deli meat. We have fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat, as well as your everyday groceries.”

Farmers across the Delta sell only a small portion of the store’s produce at this time, but Mangham says that’s something she’d like to change.

“We are looking to increase that and not only just put some of their things in our store, but have a large percentage of our produce provided by local growers,” Mangham said. “And not just in our store, but in other local smaller stores as well.”

Mangham added that other communities experiencing a lack of access to healthier options have reached out for help to bring a similar store to their area.

“It’s been an inspiration to other areas. I’ve had chambers of commerce and mayors and people come to Farmacy to see that if just one person can do this, we can bring a grocery store to our community.”

The full interview with Magham can be watched below.

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