Baton Rouge student building an app to help residents in food deserts

When Mordecai Logan’s mom tells him to get dressed and get in the car, she doesn’t have to ask twice.

In this case, his mom had gotten an email about the Futures Fund, a mentorship program through the Walls Project. It trains young people in career-building trades such as coding and photography. She was intent on enrolling her son in the semester-long program—no ifs, ands or buts.

Mordecai, now a 17-year-old Baton Rouge Magnet High School student, had some experience in coding when he joined the Futures Fund in 2017. But he never imagined it would see him presenting an app in front of judges last year at the Junior Achievement Big Pitch competition.

As part of a work-study program through the Futures Fund, Mordecai was the project lead for Uproot Market, an app he calls a “digital farmers market” that connects residents in food deserts with local farmers providing fresh fruits and vegetables.

Through Uproot Market, farmers and other vendors can create an account and upload information on fresh produce they have available. Users can browse the options closest to them and also see recipes and other tips on how to use certain vegetables and fruits they might not be familiar with.

Mordecai says when his team started brainstorming how to put their coding skills to work, they immediately thought of things they could do to help the community.

“There are people in Baton Rouge who don’t have good access to fresh produce, and we wanted to solve that,” Mordecai says. “In these food deserts, there are only a small number of grocery stores, but there are also so many convenience stores that can really lead to unhealthy habits.”

Read on for the rest of the story on Mordecai and the Uproot Market, which appeared in the October 2020 issue of 225.

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