Meet Ivy Lawrence-Walls and Jeremy Peaches, farmers turned entrepreneurs from Houston, Texas, who run Fresh Houwse Grocery, a Black-owned grocery shop that tries to supply residents in their community with locally produced vegetables.
Lawrence-Walls of Ivy Leaf Farms and Peaches of Fresh Life Organic Produce have always been mindful of food insecurity in Sunnyside, their childhood neighborhood. It has been identified as a USDA food desert, and efforts are being made to combat it.
The couple has been planning to construct a food store in Sunnyside since October 2021. Businesses on Cullen Boulevard, sometimes known as “Black Wall Street,” that were formerly booming in the 1960s have mostly closed down. Even food stores are now more than a mile away from the majority of Sunnyside residents.
They were able to open Fresh Houwse Grocery after nearly a year of preparations, particularly finding the ideal location off of a main road and accessible by Metro.
Peaches told the Houston Chronicle, “It’s almost like history.” “It’s not every day that you see farmers producing food and distributing it through a grocery store in their hometown.”
Prior to that, the two launched the Black Farmer’s Box, which serves inhabitants of food desert places with locally produced produce. They saved its revenues, combined with $27,000 from a community fundraiser and a $50,000 donation from HGTV “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, to utilize for the business.
Fresh House offers a diverse range of products, including fresh produce, grains, seasonings, and canned goods, as well as everyday essentials and household items. The location is ideal for residents of Sunnyside and nearby South Park.
“We’re a Bodega-style, get it how you live grocery store,” Lawrence-Walls said. “In order to make healthy eating a (lifestyle), you have to be available, consistent and convenient.”