Church Grocery Garden

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In business they say it’s all about location, location, location.  A new produce market recently opened in Northwest St. Louis and you won’t believe where…in the basement of a United Methodist Church.  It’s part of a program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control to help encourage better eating habits.

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They call it the Garden of Eden…a produce market in the basement of Union Memorial United Methodist Church. 

Jennifer Strayhorn / Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis:  “It came about because of our need for introducing more fresh fruits and vegetables in the African-American community where we are disproportionately affected by a number of diseases.”

A five hundred thousand dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control has made it possible to provide education, jobs, and a place neighbors have come to rely on.

Jennifer Strayhorn: “We have some of the freshest produce around and the prices are affordable. We check each week to make sure our prices meet or beat our competitors, our grocery stores.”

Tips on food preparation are provided free of charge to shoppers wanting to learn how to eat healthier.

Melody Bordeaux / Shopper: “They’ve probably gotten me to eat a broader span of vegetables than I have in the past.”

Lorraine Harvey: “You can’t tell from week to week what’s going to sell the best.”

The market is open to anyone. About 50 shoppers have been showing up each week.

Betty Carr / Shopper: “We must be pleased because we keep coming back.”

A lot more shoppers will be necessary for the market to be self-sustaining after the grant runs out in a few years.  Most feel confident that as the word spreads the numbers will increase.

Shopper: “I’ll be back and I’ll bring somebody with me.  I’m going to tell everybody that you can’t beat this.  This is better than the supermarket.”

Jennifer Strayhorn:  “We’re not here to just reach a bottom line. We’re here because we love the people in the community. We want to see them better. We believe in whole health and we believe in a fruitful and healthy life.”


The Garden of Eden is open every Saturday from 10 to 2.  Anyone is welcome and besides fresh fruit and vegetables, the market usually offers milk, eggs and bread.