Virtual Supermarket: Delivering Groceries to your Neighborhood Library

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By Laura Fox, Baltimore City Health Department

This post is part of the series Giving Back with Community Outreach Programs.

Join the conversation: #PrattOutreach

"Get your groceries at your local library" is not something that most people think of when they think of their local library. The Baltimarket Virtual Supermarket Program is a partnership between the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Baltimore City Health Department, and Santoni’s Supermarket.

Virtual Supermarket flyerWith the Baltimarket, Baltimore residents can order their groceries online and pick them up at one of the three participating Pratt branches: Washington Village, Orleans Street, and Cherry Hill.

All of the neighborhoods the program serves are considered "food deserts," areas that don’t have access to healthy and affordable food. The Baltimarket is at libraries in food deserts to make it easier for residents to get healthy and affordable food without the hassle of taking multiple buses or taxis. Customers pay only for the groceries they receive and there is no delivery fee. Residents can pay for their groceries with cash, credit, debit, and food stamps.

Health experts recommend eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but in many neighborhoods it is hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables. One of our customers told us that before the program she had to buy all of the food for her family at Dollar General and CVS. She knew she wasn’t getting the healthy foods her family really needed because neither store carried fresh produce. Now she orders her food with the Baltimarket and she is able to get fruits, vegetables, and all of the healthy foods her family needs at great supermarket prices.

To see if the Baltimarket is in your area or to see our hours please visit our website at

Virtual Supermarket Laura Adams
Photo by Laura Adams


Listen to the story, Check It Out: Get Your Groceries At The Library, which originally aired on NPR's All Things Considered April 26, 2010.

The Baltimarket Virtual Supermarket Program was the result of a National Endowment for the Arts funded partnership between the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore City Health Department, the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, and Real Food Farm. Read about the research and design process in the online book, Supplying Demand: Designing Solutions for Baltimore's Food Deserts.

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