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Dignified and easy access to healthy, affordable grocery markets in the Washington, DC metro area

Subsidized, locally-owned health food marts in the NE and SE regions of Washington, DC, and Prince George's County, MD

Photo of Greg Payne
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Emerging Market Enterprises LLC

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Washington, DC

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Greater metropolitan area of Washington, DC. This is calculated to be approximately 14,410 km^2.

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

A metropolitan area that, like many others, has distinct, visual barriers between communities of varied socioeconomic status. Low income neighborhoods in the Washington, DC, area are over-represented by African American and Latino populations. The vast majority of these communities lie on the opposite side of a major river - the Anacostia - that runs along the southeast edge of the city and further isolates communities that are disproportionately poor and subsisting on some form of government assistance. Physical access to grocery stores that provide healthy foods continues to be one of the primary reasons for food insecurity.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Geographic, physical access to grocery stores that provide healthy, affordable food is one of the main current challenges. However, in the near-term there will be the additional challenge of more stringent requirements for the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), a federal government welfare program providing food assistance to low income individuals. This will increase the food "insecure" and "very insecure" populations. Long-term, the Washington, DC, area continues to struggle with economic development that does not benefit all populations. This will inevitably raise prices of food in the area, and force many communities to relocate even further from the center of the city (and thus even further from the supply of healthy, affordable food options).

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The vision is ambitious, but local and federal policy can encourage smaller locally-owned food marts to make healthy, affordable food options available to low-income populations in identified communities.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Alana Libow

Hi Greg Payne - Welcome to the Food System Vision Prize!

We are looking forward to seeing your Vision. As a reminder, we encourage visionaries to review our toolkit ( -- particularly the 6 themes that we aim to understand through your challenges and visions.

As you develop your vision, consider what would life in DC look like in 2050? If a news reporter came to join you for a day in your shoes in 2050-- what would this reporter see, feel, experience? How would your community's lives be different because of your vision?

How might you engage your stakeholders now to help develop your vision and inspire others to collaborate with you?

We look forward to seeing your updates!