Wendell Pierce

Food deserts – lack of access to grocery stores selling affordable, fresh foods – are critical issues in impoverished communities, including many New Orleans neighborhoods. Actor Wendell Pierce, a New Orleans native, is offering solutions. The “Treme” star launched Sterling Farms, a small chain of grocery and convenience stores, throughout different food deserts in New Orleans.

His chain offers affordable and nutritious foods for customers as well as transportation. The stores offer car rides home to any customer that spends more than $50.

“The most important thing to me is creating a relationship with the community; creating an economic engine as an opportunity for them just to have access to a decent grocery store,” Pierce explained to “NBC Nightly News.

Pierce’s approach directly counterbalances the prevalence of food deserts by increasing physical and financial access to healthier options.  He also situated his stores in areas with single mothers, children and the elderly, who are the three largest demographics impacted by food deserts.

This is the latest of Pierce’s efforts to rejuvenate his native city. He assisted with the rebuilding of the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and has consistently lobbied for financial resources for the still-recovering city.

His activist work is commendable and a premiere example of using a larger platform to facilitate effective change.


  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I am very proud of Mr. Pierce and his partners who broke ground on this idea. Hopefully this trend can continue and more black own business come back into the area and continue to rebuild. People like to think that NOLA is post Hurricane Katrina but the sad reality is a lot of areas are still struggling particularly historic black areas so kudos to him. I hope others follow suit it is high time to reinvest and build our communities across States.

  • http://twitter.com/TheHealthyCross The HealthyCross (@TheHealthyCross)

    Very refreshing to see how a desolate situation can be turned into a blessing of affordable nutrition and resources to those that desire it. This model can be used across the nation to reduce food deserts! To provide transportation is an answer to the mother to necessity like no other. So innovative and job well done!

  • I got sense!

    This is what I think most black Americans don’t get. The very first comment on this article is about if he/she had the money….the thing is we do have the money. One million dollars is one million dollars whether Oprah or Beyonce gives the entire amount or one million black people give $1. We can do this y’all. We can make our communities better. Every complaint that has been voiced on this blog and others can be addressed and fixed if we can just come to the realization that together we stand divided we fall. No one celebrity or president can fix the entire black community. We have to do this for ourselves. We spend billions a year on depreciable nonsense items. We can do EXACTLY what this man did without one person footing the entire bill or needing white owned institions to fund it. If we own it from the ground up they can’t make the decisions and reap all the benefits.

  • http://gabandgraffiti.wordpress.com MarloweOverShakespeare

    Is anyone else excited about these Black men partnering to change their neighborhoods. I smell a swift uprising :-) Thanks Clutch, y’all still got it.

  • http://gravatar.com/tellmesumtingood TajMarie

    Maybe other celebrities will take note instead of making news for some of the foolish words that come out of their mouths.