We wanted to take some time to thank you all for your support over the past year and a half (coming up on two!). We have thoroughly enjoyed being able to show our followers ways to enjoy eating out in the lowcountry, without having to worry about blowing your budget. We have recently decided to spice up our blog a bit, and show our readers how to eat affordably, while also supporting the local economy. We absolutely love spending Saturday mornings at the farmers market in Marion Square, and I personally have made the shift to only buying my produce locally. I find that local produce tastes so much better than produce that has been shipped from miles away to grocery stores. It’s also important to support local farms and businesses because that’s how we keep these places in business and the local goods flowing. You’re also helping the environment at the same time, by buying goods that haven’t traveled on trucks all the way across the country.
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Lindsey Barrow, the owner of a Charleston local goods mobile hot-spot: Lowcountry Street Grocery.
What inspired you to start up Lowcountry Street Grocery?
A sincere need for fresh food access and food security. In our evolving food economy, we are finding the need to address that using more traditional business tools. We wanted to start something different, something that addresses the bigger picture. What we’re dealing with are systemic issues that require more than simple band-aid fixes. It’s harder to connect with change we need in local food and economy if you can’t build on it.
How long has Lowcountry Street Grocery been in business?
1.5 years, full time.
What is the mission of Lowcountry Street Grocery?
Our mission is really two-fold. We want to:
- provide sustainable, equitable, and empowering food system solutions for our community with a particular focus on our neighbors in low-income, low-access pockets of town that lack healthy food access and food security.
- Be an outlet for small local producers and bridge the food access gap through community business. It’s important for us to provide equitable access to healthy, quality foods, rather than get whatever we can into underserved areas.
Where does the Lowcountry Street Grocery travel to?
We travel all across the Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Downtown, James Island, and West Ashley. With additional buses our footprint will expand.
What is a CSG(Community Supported Grocery)?
CSG is a convenient way to shop the bus without shopping the bus. It’s a way for us to package and deliver our offerings to your doorstep (or pick up at Munkle Brewing Co). What started out as a contingency plan for bus breakdowns quickly became an additional innovative revenue stream that’s required of social enterprises like us that don’t receive donations or other means of financial assistance. This allows our followers to inherently support our mission simply by signing up for bundle of the best local foods around. This is where our “Robin Hood Economy” comes in. We simply meet demand for local, healthy and delicious goods so that we can turn around and address the need for affordable healthy food – our mission delivery. CSG is great for busy folks, as we provide a list each week of what is in the bundles and who produced it. Then we bring it to your home. It’s true community business. We hustle for the farmers, hustle for the community, so that we can effectively bridge the gaps and connect everyone. It’s a win-win-win.
Who do you get your produce/other local goods from?
We have over 80 vendors and small farms, through which we get our produce and other local goods from. We are trying to develop logistics for vendors and want to have a home base to rely on. We throw support to small guys that can’t afford to take their crops to groceries. Our vendors and farms include:
- Fireant Farms
- Rooting Down Farms
- Spade and Clover Gardens
- Lowland Farms
- Middleton Place Organic
- Wappetaw Farms
- Fili- West Farms
- Wishbone Heritage
- Green Grocer
- Freeman Farms
- Ambrose Farms
- Joe Fields Farm
- Tiller Baking Co
- Counter Cheese Caves
- Milta Tortilleria
- Growfood Carolina
- Limehouse Produce
- Many, many more
Do you operate year-round?
Yes, though we are currently taking a break to do some repairs on the bus and retool for a big 2019.
What can people expect to see when the bus re-opens in February?
The bus will be updated and we will slowly be expanding everything we do. There is storefront potential, which would serve as our homebase. We’re also working hard on semi-permanent markets for neighborhoods that need more consistency. We are hoping to continue growing and expanding in the next couple of years.
Are there ways to get involved with Lowcountry Street Grocery?
Yes! We are always looking for community liaisons! A community liaison is someone who would help get the word out about us, usher in our mobile market, and help us connect to communities that need our services the most.
Make sure you are following Lowcountry Street Grocery on Instagram and have liked their page on Facebook to stay up to date on when the bus will be re-opening, as well as find info about their weekly CSG’s!