“We call it ‘Robin Hood economics,’” says Lindsey Barrow Jr., founder and director of Lowcountry Street Grocery (LSG), a mobile farmers market that combats food insecurity by increasing access to healthy, affordable fare. “Living in Charleston, I’m fully aware of the rich history and flourishing local food scene,” he explains. “I’m also aware of neighborhoods being excluded as grocery stores and markets shutter in search of more lucrative locations in the suburbs.”
“Neighborhoods [are] being excluded as markets shutter in search of more lucrative locations.” —Lindsey Barrow Jr.
So Barrow and his merry men (and women!) set up a Kickstarter campaign, raised a cool $47,000, and now bring fresh fare to the masses aboard Nell, a retrofitted 1988 Ford school bus. Her pilot route, launched last month, includes weekly stops at Tricounty Family Ministries, MUSC, Rutledge Avenue’s The Park Cafe, and Daniel Island. “Our mobility allows us to sustain the business financially with stops in affluent areas as well as communities that most need grocery access,” Barrow says, referring to LSG’s “mission markets” in the Eastside and Union Heights, home to many of the 23,000 Lowcountry residents living in USDA-designated food deserts. In lieu of receiving alms from a prince of thieves clad in green, market patrons purchase greens and other produce sourced from John’s Island’s Spade & Clover, Lowland Farms, and Joseph Fields Farm, among others. Nell’s aisles also boast frozen and canned foods, meat, eggs and dairy, and local artisan goods à la Geechie Boy Mill grits. Find your nearest stop at www.lowcountry-streetgrocery.com.