The Near West Side Grocery Challenge: It’s In the Bag


The Challenge: How It Works

Teams will have day-to-day support from a team of Marquette staff and some overarching guidance from key University Leadership, Near West Side staff, and others interested in supporting the Challenge. In addition, student teams can participate in a speed networking event featuring local grocery experts to get feedback on ideas and suggestions for next steps. 

At the end of the semester, teams will pitch their recommendations and ideas to a panel of judges. Judges and Marquette leadership will evaluate all ideas and help select one or more to pilot in the fall semester. “Winning” teams and ideas will receive seed funding to implement the pilots. Interested students can apply to be a summer grocery fellow and keep working on their idea. 

Looking Ahead

The goal is to generate innovative, affordable, and sustainable models to bring fresh foods to the Near West Side and pilot a variety of ideas to determine the appropriate mix of fresh food retail options. We want grocery options that are inclusive to everyone who calls the Near West Side home—and change the narrative around “grocery”.

The Grocery Challenge is aimed at Marquette students and staff but Near West Side partners and community members are invited to be collaborators. If interested, please contact Kelsey Otero ( 


January 31 – kick off

      Register for kickoff here:

February 20 – resident meeting #1 at the Neighborhood of Neighborhoods meeting (Harley-Davidson)

Early March – resident meeting #2 at Neighborhood House at TBD time

Final Pitches – April 20th at 4 p.m.

In the news

We recently sat down with Lake Effect (WUWM - Milwaukee Public Radio) to talk about how we're working with Marquette University to bring fresh food options to the Near West Side. Check it out!

Research and Resources

Check out some great local resources as you go through the discovery phase:


Register for kickoff: