The banished bounty
Supermarkets with aisles of super foods are super rare around Marquette.
While he was a business student, Andrew Terenzio, Bus Ad ’15, learned campus stands smack dab in the middle of a food desert, a federally designated area with low-level access to grocery stores.
The struggle to buy healthy food locally really hit home when Terenzio moved out of student housing. “I moved into a house with some of my buddies at 20th and Michigan Street, was no longer on a meal plan, and had to fend for myself and put food in my own refrigerator,” he says. “It gave me a glimpse of what a food desert is from outside the classroom.”
He decided to do something about it. With financing help from Marquette’s Strategic Innovation Fund, Terenzio spent a year researching his idea for a mobile market dubbed Public Marquette.
Terenzio is working with Kelsey Otero, Marquette’s social innovation coordinator, on ideas for breaking the barriers and bringing groceries to the low-income/low-access neighborhoods surrounding campus, with thoughts ranging from gassing up a mobile van to acquiring a brick-and-mortar storefront.
He also is researching other innovative grocery models and community partnerships.
He will submit a comprehensive proposal to Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation, in late June and hopes to start the for-profit business within two years.
“Healthy foods are important, but it’s also important for us to be as much of a full-service grocery supplier as possible,” Terenzio says. “The real long-term plan is to show viability in certain areas of the neighborhood and evolve into a full-service grocery store that doesn’t skip out on any of the basics.” — JD