New South Memphis
It all started when…
In October 2018, the 275 Food Project joined forces with Heifer USA to fund the expansion of New South Produce Cooperative from Little Rock into the Memphis market. The goal of the New South Memphis operation is to provide more farmers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi access to a thriving wholesale market to support restaurants, groceries and eventually large businesses and institutions located in Memphis. That effort is going strong: more market channels mean greater profitability for Mid-South area farmers, more seasonal local foods in restaurants, and more opportunities to shift procurement spending to local growers.
In June 2019, the board of New South decided to suspend operations in Central Arkansas and dissolve the existing business. In collaboration with Heifer, 275 Food Project will continue to operate New South Memphis while exploring a new legal structure for the business. We are committed to a for-profit model that pays farmers a fair price and provides equity shares and/or some form of profit sharing. In the meantime, New South Memphis is open for business and continues to grow market momentum for source-identified, local foods in Memphis.
Today, 275 Food Project/New South Memphis are developing a go-to-market strategy that grows the demand for local food over time. Shelby County residents and visitors currently spend about $3.5 Billion per year on food. The majority of this spending occurs in restaurants, groceries and large scale institutions—yet, there have been very few reliable ways to get local food into those markets. Our goal is to increase predictability for these buyers and to decrease the risk for farmers to plant more crops.