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Ward 7 resident competes for $100,000 grant to bring food hall to her neighborhood

Mary Blackford wants to build a food hall, where 90% of vendors will be women, in Ward 7. She's competing in an Essence contest for a $100,000 grant.

WASHINGTON — A D.C. native needs your help to bring fresh food options to her neighborhood. Mary Blackford is attempting to bring a food hall to the District's Ward 7 neighborhood 

Market 7 is under construction and will be a first-of-its kind food hall in Ward 7. Blackford says 90% of the vendors will be women. 

Business experts say while black women are the fastest-growing entrepreneurs, they are the least funded. Blackford is one of three national finalists competing for a $100,000 grant. 

She said the investment will help her solve what she's calling not only a food desert, but food apartheid East of the River.

July 1 is the final day to vote in the Essence Build Your Legacy Contest. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. You can see Blackford's full entry video and more on her journey to bring a food hall to Ward 7 below. 

ESSENCE and Pine-Sol have partnered to award a Black woman entrepreneur $100,000 towards her business,and we need your help in order to do so! Please check out the video interviews of our semi-finalists and cast your vote today!Voting ends on July 1st.

According to the contest entry page, there were more than 600 entrants. 

"The Build Your Legacy Contest was created to invest in these women, who are the backbone of their communities and who are contributing to the positive economic impact, right there, where they live," the contest website said. 

RELATED: Ward 7 residents protest another fast-food chain on Minnesota Avenue, NE DC

RELATED: DC Councilmember announces commitment to keep Ward 7 Safeway stocked during pandemic

RELATED: 'It's a game changer' | How DC's $161M budget surplus could solve food desert crisis east of the river

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