Federal Contracting (Procurement)

Food Deserts and Minority-Owned Businesses

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Propose building, or utilizing empty and/or condemned buildings/store fronts, within rural and urban 'food deserts'.  Each building could have a minimum of 40,000 square feet of open space and be repurposed (by minority sub/contractors) as a green building with utilities.  Accommodate possibly eight (8) minority-owned small businesses who are already established grocers, with a track record and an existing supply chain, offering only fresh meats, fruits and vegetables (FDA and Department of Agriculture).  Processed foods should be kept to a minimum.

This should be a public/private partnership for funding, possibly subsidized with eight leases held and sponsored by local (Chambers of Commerce, Rotaries, Kiwanis, minority organizations, colleges and/or universities, etc.), state and/or federal government with adequate controls for management.

While avoiding nepotism and cronyism, establish training programs, apprenticeships and maybe scholarship for local residents to learn co-op, grocery/retail, and management skills of the overall enterprise.

This would require a buffer zone apart from other groceries, supermarkets and similar, for better acceptance.  As a fig leaf for nearby minority-owned convenience stores, those owners (maximum of two) could be allowed to have one of the turnkey spaces and participate.  Ensuring that they would be only selling fresh foods.  Each of the eight leases should have specialty or unique products, but not preventing competition to keep prices in check.  Appropriate contracts could be created, written and managed by minority-owned real estate and/or law firms.

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Idea No. 165