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St. Louis MetroMarket

by Jeremy GossSaint Louis, MO

Transforming the dynamics of food access and education in low-income areas of St. Louis. MetroMarket will serve all 15 St. Louis food deserts within 5 years.

Project Summary

Who we are

  1. Tej Azad - recent Washington University in St. Louis graduate. Aspiring physician, hopeful social entrepreneur, and college basketball aficionado. 
  2. Jeremy Goss - current St. Louis University medical student. Future physician, nutrition entrepreneur and social justice advocate. 
  3. Colin Dowling - recent Washington University in St. Louis MBA graduate. Budding entrepreneur, St. Louis native and avid skier. 

What we believe in

The USDA defines a food desert as “a low-income census tract where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.” Our innovation is a mobile farmers’ market targeting the four primary barriers faced by people in food deserts.

These barriers are physical, economic, education, and awareness. By addressing these four key problems, we will have not only eliminated food deserts in our community but also have perfected a model for the nation.

How we're going to do it

Operating out of a modified city transit bus and stocked with locally sourced produce and staple goods, the St. Louis MetroMarket will make predetermined stops at regularly scheduled times and sell in the most affected neighborhoods. At every stop, patrons will have the opportunity to learn about proper portions, the components of a well-balanced meal, and other essential lessons on healthy living. Patrons will also be treated to weekly cooking demonstrations on preparing meals from start to finish.

The St. Louis MetroMarket will utilize a sliding scale membership model with stratified pricing for our corporate, high-income, and low-income members.

Annual member fees (32.7%) and direct sales of produce and staple goods (42.4%) will drive revenues. Through a corporate surcharge and sales to high-income members we can provide below market prices for members receiving food assistance benefits. We will also draw on donations, grants, government tax incentives, and in kind contributions. 

And by fostering a coalition of community organizations, leaders, and stakeholders along the way, we will be able to  leverage the success we've had toward addressing food security here in St. Louis to advocate for change at the highest levels of government.

Our impact

By year 1 and with one vehicle, we will serve at least 4 food deserts, have 4,000 subsidized members, and will have realized 52,000 annual transactions in food desert areas. By year 3 we will have added two additional vehicles and our presence will be felt in 11 food deserts with 16,000 subsidized members and 320,000 annual transactions in food desert areas. In year 5 we will have 4 total vehicles, with a presence in all 15-food deserts areas, servicing 66,000 subsidized members, and 1,980,000 annual transactions in food deserts.

If you have any questions, please email stlmetromarket@gmail.com!