Chicory Market will relocate to Midtown Shopping Center after receiving a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The grant will help fund construction and architecture costs, inventory expansion, marketing and community outreach.
Founded in 2017, Chicory Market is a full-service grocery currently located on County Road 101 in Oxford that offers local and organic food at an affordable price.
“Our first (mission) is to support the local food economy, and we do that by working with more than 75 local farmers and food makers,” Chicory Market co-founder John Martin said. “The second one is to improve access to local food for people of all income levels. We accept EBT payments, or food stamps, and give a discount on those. We do outreach to the community, and we’re working on several fronts to lower the prices of natural food and local food that we sell.”
The USDA, in partnership with the Reinvestment Fund, invested $22.6 million to help expand grocery stores and other healthy food retailers in communities that are faced with food insecurity. Chicory Market is one of 134 projects across the country that received financial assistance to improve access to healthy, affordable food.
“In Mississippi, and even in Oxford, we deal with a lot of disparities in access to healthy food. Just by allowing us to expand our foot square and inventory, it helps us hit the lower price points for natural food. It helps us give more exposure to local farmers and food makers,” Martin said.
Chicory Market also focuses on community outreach and hired Britnee Barnes as the Community Outreach Coordinator. They participated in the Oxford Juneteenth Festival, organized a back-to-school event at the Belle Rivers community, an affordable housing development, and have partnered with Doors of Hope, which supports families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“We are also in the process of forming a community advisory committee, which will help connect us with different groups in the local community so that we can get feedback on food prices, and where we can do a better job of making food more accessible,” Martin said.