houston, food insecurity

Black Farmers Open ‘Fresh Houwse Grocery’ In The Middle Of A Houston Food Desert

In November 2022, two Black farmers in Houston opened a grocery store to provide much-needed food, produce, and other staples essential to living a regular life in an area with food insecurity.

According to Houston Public MediaIvy Walls and Jeremy Peaches opened The Fresh Houwse Grocery Store, which is located at 5039 Reed Road in Sunnyside. The Houston neighborhood has limited access to fresh food, and the owners opened the grocery store to give residents some healthy food options.

The low-income neighborhood has been named a food desert by the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Food in low-income neighborhoods like ours, Sunnyside, and South Park had higher levels of gastrointestinal bugs found in the salad mix, versus those in higher income neighborhoods and more fluent neighborhoods, salad mixes found there,” Walls told the media outlet.

Many Sunnyside residents do not have access to a vehicle, and a grocery store is more than a mile away. Without transportation, people in the community are forced to settle for unhealthy food options.

Walls and Peaches grew up in Sunnyside and attended Prairie A&M University. Both own other businesses, Walls owns the Ivy Leaf Farms; Peaches owns Fresh Life Organics. To get the funds to open the store, a fundraiser brought in $27,000 in seven days. Then, they received a business grant from a philanthropist in the state that was used to renovate the space.

“We really saw the need for our community to have access to fresh produce,” Walls said. “And not only fresh produce but to have the education of farmers and to know your farmer and really push for a sustainable food system.”

Walls said folks in the community have embraced the store since it opened in November. In time, she hopes the concept can be incorporated into other areas in the city that are food deserts, and that building a food system that’s community-dependent is in the works.