A new community owned grocery store is set to open later this month in Providence. Located on Providence’s west side, the Urban Greens Co-op Market is one of several food-related development projects hailed by city officials for expanding access to fresh and local food in neighborhoods without easy access to a grocery store.
The Urban Greens Co-op Market is wedged between the Federal Hill, West End, and South Providence neighborhoods—parts of the city without easy access to a grocery store.
It's part of a trend of food businesses popping up on the west side of Providence. Others include lettuce-growing greenhouses owned by Gotham Greens, a fleet of microbreweries, and Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s new headquarters and distribution hub.
Interim General Manager Tim Sullivan said the store is working to keep prices low.
“There’s what we call an Urban Greens Basics Program, which is a staple line of food that will sell at a lower price. And there’s a food-for-all program, and that is a program where low-income people who qualify can get a discount to try to increase access to healthy food," Sullivan said.
Sullivan added, the market will sell a wide range of locally produced items, and hopes to double the number contracts with local food producers by next year.
Urban Greens Co-op Market will opens with a three-day celebration starting June 27th. Members-owners will be able to begin shopping on June 25th.
Reporter Sofia Rudin toured the market, with Interim General Manager Tim Sullivan and Vice Chair of the Cooperative Council, Philip Trevett.
Sofia Rudin: So we are standing here in the Urban Greens Co-op Market. What's the status currently?
Tim Sullivan: Well, probably the most exciting thing is we've got product on the shelves. So that's what we've been doing all this week… We have a very diverse neighborhood, so we are gonna try to provide the foods that our diverse clientele wants.
SR: And that's sort of an abstract idea - are there any specific products that you're stocking?
Philip Trevett: Yeah so when we talk about serving the different communities that live in the surrounding neighborhoods that can mean everything from produce like bitterballs and sweet potato greens, which are reflective of West African cuisine, to lemongrass, or epazote, which is used as a Mexican herb. That can mean cooking oils like palm oil, which is a West African oil.
SR: Well should we take a brief walk around the store?
TS: This is going to be a beautiful produce department. Just beyond produce you’re gonna see a great food service department. We have a bulk section back here, we'll have fresh coffee back here every day.
PT: One thing I get really excited about within bulk is bulk herbs and spices. I don't think you can find those anywhere in Providence, except for here starting in three weeks.
SR: Anything else folks should know ahead of opening?
PT: We want input, we want feedback. And we want to continue to hear what we else should have in the store, what items we don't have that people want. Anything like that.
SR: Thank you both for the tour.