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.


  • A Daughter of Yemonja

    Wonderful, if I had money that along the lines of what I would love to do! Many blessings on this endeavor.

  • Monique

    I love to hear news like this! Best of luck to him.

  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J. Nicole

    That’s good to hear! Hope the word spreads and more celebrities follow

  • The Comment

    this is a step in the right direction. I hope he goes on to compete with Safeway/Nob Hill/Von’s… Next to technology…food is big business. More celebrities should consider doing this vs. making defunct clothing lines.

  • I got sense!

    Now this is what the f*ck I’m talking about. Black people starting businesses to help other blacks. Don’t sell the business to white people and black people patronize the business so that black dollars stay in the black community. Congrats to him. We need more like him.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Now THAT is what I call being a role model.

  • Treece

    This is awesome. This is what you do with your money to help build up communities and your people. People with money and means complain all day about unhealthy eating in poor communities, but don’t do anything to help. This man is actually doing the work and I commend him for it.

  • http://clutch Sojourner’s Truth

    What a Man, What a Man. Economic development in the Black community. Keep the GREAT work up.

  • noir45

    This is what I’m talking about. If all of us pulled our resources then we can have grocery story chains all across America – even the world. We can also have hotel chains, restaurants, media outlets, etc. There are way too many wealthy blacks for us not to become Black Wall Street again. Where is our collective vision?

  • Mademoiselle

    This is very awesome! I’m not in NOLA, but if there’s a way to invest in it, I plan to. I want to see this expand beyond Louisiana to other states with similar pockets of need. I hope he has lots of marketing for it too. Great news — thanks Clutch, and Mr. Pierce.

  • K

    this is fantastic!!!! I hope he prospers so much that he is able to expand nationwide to all low income food deserts

  • The Other Jess

    This is GREAT news. So much better than the grungly little liquor stores that also serve as grocery stores in so many food deserts.

  • Mademoiselle
  • http://gravatar.com/heavenleiblu heavenleiblu

    LOVE this. This is a bit of a passion of mine.

  • http://gravatar.com/heavenleiblu heavenleiblu

    “More celebrities should consider doing this vs. making defunct clothing lines.” You done said a mouthful, right there.

  • angel

    This is awesome. Hats off to him!!!! Wish more celebrities would do the same!!!

  • Humanista

    THIS is awesome!

  • http://nerdstradamas.wordpress.com nerdstradamas

    This is really brilliant of him!
    I wish him great things in his life.

    Talk about having a vision and making it come forth! Excellent community improvement.

  • K. Michel

    I’d like to also thank Clutch for reporting this story because I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise (and this isn’t the first time). This is how we do better …by uplifting those who do and ignoring those who don’t.

  • http://gravatar.com/g2-5bad1203f6a970f65345273e8eff5cd2 jazzyphile

    He’s from there. Spike Lee did a documentary on Katrina and this dude’s father had been in his home over 50 years paying on a insurance policy all along and the insurance company only offered him $800 after his home is basically totalled. He hid this information from his father as he thought he might try and kill the insurance claim adjusted. Of course the insurance company stated that the leaves breaking flooded his home not Katrina, so he wasn’t covered!

  • 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.

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