First brick-and-mortar location for nonprofit hopes to help neighborhood food desert
The Village of West Greenville has long been designated one of Greenville’s food deserts, with local residents having no nearby access to fresh foods. That’s about to change when the new Mill Village Market by Mill Community Ministries opens in early November.
Mill Village Market will be located at 8 Lois Ave., near Pendleton Street, and will feature locally grown produce and regionally sourced foods.
“We’re taking our mobile market concept and making it stationary,” said Dan Weidenbenner, executive director. It will be the first brick-and-mortar location for the nonprofit organization that also runs Mill Village Farms, a community farm that employs and trains youth in basic job skills.
Weidenbenner says the youth working in the Mill Village Market will gain valuable retail skills. Produce grown at Mill Village Farms will be sold at the store. He is working on being able to take SNAP Healthy Bucks that allows SNAP users to make their money go further the market and expects to keep prices “reasonable.”
The approximately 900-square-foot market will also have room available as a community gathering space. “The hub will be an inviting and energetic place for surrounding community members and visitors to the Village alike,” said Weidenbenner.
A second phase is expected to include a bike co-op by The Village Wrench, which will provide bicycle maintenance and repair, and a Nasha Co-Work Café with rentable desk space geared towards entrepreneurs. Weidenbenner says he sees low-tech, commercial-based entrepreneurs in this space that need assistance with resources, including lending and funding. Construction on the first phase of the project, Mill Village Market, has already begun. While local donations and corporate partners have funded the project thus far, Mill Community Ministries is still seeking tax-deductible in-kind and financial contributions.
For more information, visit MillCommunity.org.