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Madison Food Desert Finding Hope

May 12, 2021

I love to see those with a dream succeed with their efforts. And when Kaba Bah and Jerreh Kujab open their grocery store on Madison’s East Side it will also make for a huge difference for a community that is now termed a food desert.

The two men both attended the same high school as boys in Gambia before immigrating to Madison in 1998. The powerful and uplifting story of those who come to America and with a determined spirit plot a course and follow it is one that never gets old. Many will benefit from having a market within walking distance.

“Most of the folks that live in the neighborhood are low income,” Kujabi said. “Transportation is a challenge. So they’re really excited about having a grocery store in the neighborhood they can walk to and not have to drive.”

Earlier this year I posted my confidence that the funding sources would be forthcoming for Bah and Kujabi so as to transform this location into something that will well define that neighborhood. I also know that those who love to cook using products not easily located elsewhere in the city will also be shopping in this market. (Like this home will be doing.)

I champion this business venture because it is another minority start-up getting off the ground. This is precisely the need of the neighborhood but also the story the city should embrace and advance. It will serve as another example of how smart energized work pays off, and can be as noted by these two businessmen, as inspirational to others.

James and I are looking forward to having the chance to browse their products and cook with them. I think having cooking events and sharing recipes from West Africa would be a great way to bring in customers and share foods and culture, alike. Food is a fantastic way to bridge cultures and traditions and allow folks to know one another. This store will be a win-win for all!

And so it goes.

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