There is no place in Baton Rouge like the 2 Sistahs Produce stand. The small booth off Highway 19 next to the ExxonMobil chemical plant is like a beacon of light for the community.
At the stand, locals can purchase fresh produce like bell peppers, watermelons, ginger, mangos, onions, tomatoes, garlic, okra, collard greens, cucumbers, avocados, string beans, lemons and eggplants. Shoppers are greeted with smiles from the volunteers and reggae music playing from a speaker. This is a safe space.
On a sunny Saturday morning, people of all ages and ethnicities stopped by the stand for their weekly produce. But they weren’t just there for the fruit and vegetables. 2 Sistahs Produce owners Meagan “Meagan Simone” Whiten and Monique Johnson treat their customers like family. They embrace them with hugs, ask how they’re doing and educate them on how to prepare and cook with fresh foods.
“The power of plants changed my life, and I want to share it with the community,” Whiten says.
Whiten and Johnson started their business in April 2020. Whiten was inspired by the hand-painted signs and music playing at the fresh markets in Jamaica. She wanted to recreate how she felt on the island in Baton Rouge. She also wanted to feed food deserts like Scotlandville and help heal the community from within.
With the help of volunteers, 2 Sistahs Produce grows fruits and vegetables in gardens around Scotlandville and Baton Rouge. They work with a small group of youth volunteers, teaching them how to grow their own food and how to run a business.
The stand is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., but it is often sold out of customer favorites like watermelons by noon. Locals can call or text Whiten or Johnson to reserve produce in advance.
In addition to fresh produce, customers can also purchase a la carte items like kale chips, hummus, sea moss tea, ginger-mango juice and Deaze Nuts, a mixed nut blend.
This is only the beginning for 2 Sistahs Produce. As it continues to grow, it plans to add more music, food and opportunities for other businesses to pop-up at its stand.
“This is more than just food,” Whiten says. “This is about preventing diseases, teaching people you can be proactive about your health, and you don’t have to wait for others to provide for you.”
2 Sistahs Produce is at the corner of Highway 19 and Cunard Avenue. Its hours are Wednesday and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Follow it on Instagram for updates.