Solving Cities

In Seattle food desert, pop-up grocery provides an oasis

In Seattle food desert, pop-up grocery provides an oasis

Posting in Cities

23 million people in the U.S. live in places without easy access to fresh food, but one Seattle startup has come up with an innovative way to get fresh food into urban areas that need it the most.

With 23 million people in the U.S. living in food deserts -- areas without access to fresh, affordable food -- cities need quick and easy solutions to bring food to these areas.

Fortunately, a new Seattle startup has come up with one solution to get at the issue: pop-up grocery stores using recycled shipping containers.

Stockbox Grocers started selling fresh, affordable food earlier this month out of the pop-up grocery store in the Delridge neighborhood in West Seattle, where it takes about 45 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store by bus.

With help from $20,000 in donations through a Kickstarter campaign, their pilot store, in the middle of a parking lot, carries food staples like bread, meat, dairy, grains, and pasta. This store will temporarily operate for the next 2 months as the owners look for a more permanent location to open next spring.

And the store is already catching on in the community. Carrie Ferrence, Stockbox’s co-founder told Fast Company:

The community has been really supportive of having access to good food. There is a level of education we need to do. But in the short period we’ve been in Delridge, we’ve been blown away by the level of engagement people have around food, and this as a food option.

Could this model be used in other cities to reach even more people that don't have access to fresh food? Ferrence says it's too early to say if it's a model that could be used elsewhere. Nonetheless, it's an innovative approach to bringing food to people in cities who need it the most.

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure