Kate DeWitt and Lindsey Barrow, two College of Charleston graduates, are taking massive strides in the Charleston community to aid the staggering number of people who lack access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. DeWitt and Barrow asked themselves: “How can we take what is working in our local food system, and use that to address this serious need?”
Their answer: Lowcountry Street Grocery.
With the abundance of agricultural fertility in the Lowcountry, coupled with the rising demand for local produce and farming, DeWitt and Barrow hope to make the farmers market convenient and accessible for all by creating Charleston’s first community-supported mobile farmers market. By leveraging and bolstering the thriving local food community, the dynamic duo hopes to readily provide for Charleston’s underserved communities. “Every time you buy local produce for you and your family, you’re helping empower a family in an area of need to do the same,” DeWitt and Barrow said in a joint email interview. They will reinvest their generated revenue in order to reduce the prices for low-income shoppers and EBT/SNAP recipients.
The mobile market will travel all across the Lowcountry to multiple designated spots each day, five days a week, with emphasis on the 23,000 people in underserved areas. Food will primarily come locally from the Lowcountry and, whenever possible, be organic and sustainably grown. DeWitt and Barrow currently lease and grow produce on four acres of farmland in Ravenel, S.C. and plan to use this farm as another source of produce. In addition to produce, Lowcountry Street Grocery will provide local proteins, farm eggs, breads and cheeses.
But wait – it gets better.
“We know that providing a point-of-sale is just the beginning of what healthy food access really means,” DeWitt and Barrow said. “That’s why in addition to local produce and other sundries, our mobile market will also set up a Nutrition Education Booth at bus stops. With the help of our community partners … we’ll provide cooking demonstrations, healthy meal kits and recipes, nutrition information, garden starter kits and much more.”
It sounds like DeWitt and Barrow are familiar with the old adage: give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. The duo’s savvy business and people skills will surely grant them success in their ambitious endeavor. Currently in the midst of a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds they need to get their project going, they remain optimistic. “We really feel that we’ve reached a tipping point of awareness and willingness to make Charleston’s food system healthier and more inclusive,” DeWitt and Barrow said, “and that we’ll get the community support we need to make this a reality.”
DeWitt and Barrow have tremendous faith in Charlestonians as they receive nothing but passion and excitement equivalent to their own. They ask that everyone spreads the word. In regard to social media, their #FundTheBus hashtag aims to drive attention toward the Kickstarter campaign. See the link below to donate. If they meet their goal of $40,000, Lowcountry Street Grocery will be making its rounds throughout the Lowcountry by the end of the summer.