HOUSTON — Two graduates of Prairie View A&M are shifting the face of urban farming while also addressing food insecurity in one of Houston’s low-income neighborhoods.
The Fresh Houwse Grocery located in the Sunnyside community is now open and the two are making it a point to provide healthy food options in places that are typically out of reach.
Ivy Walls and Jeremy Peaches are the founders of the Black Farmer Box and owners of the Fresh Houwse Grocery.
For them, it’s about bridging the inequality gap in accessing fresh fruits and in vegetables.
Now the two young Black farmers are hoping to do their part in closing food deserts in Houston.
“Texas wintertime, that means we have collards, mustards, lettuce, leafy greens, anything that doesn’t have a flower grows in this season,” Ivy said.
The two are just under 30 years old and grew up in the Sunnyside community, once a thriving area for generations of Black people.
“You have to make it convenient, and you have to make it accessible and you have to make it culturally relevant,” Ivy said.
The duo is trying to fill the gap of the lack of fresh produce and foods that often leads to worsening food attainability challenges.
“A University of Houston study came out about how there was food disparities in grocery stores in certain lower-income neighborhoods, so it’s kind of like a call to action to me and Ivy because one of those neighborhoods was Sunnyside,” Jeremy said.
Ivy and Jeremy said the store has a family atmosphere.
“When you think about food, especially the food that we eat, they’re attached to memories. So listening to all the memories of folks coming in talking about, 'Man I haven’t had this, this way since I was a child,' and, 'My grandfather grew it,' or, 'My grandmother grew it.' And so, it has been absolutely amazing,” Ivy said.
The ultimate goal is to eliminate food deserts in pockets of Houston beginning with Sunnyside.
“The goal is to take this to other food desert communities to show them that they can have equity inside of their food system,” Ivy said.