In St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., a pay-what-you-can grocery store stays in business, all thanks to customers who pick their price. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 13.5 million households in the U.S. experienced food insecurity. That same year, MARSH Grocery opened to fill the gap in affordable, healthy food access in the city's Carondelet neighborhood. Fresh produce from MARSH comes straight from the cooperative's urban farm lots. When patrons go to the check-out counter to purchase their groceries, they are given an option to pay up to 20 percent more or less. Currently, the approach mostly breaks even, with above-price payments nearly matching discounted ones. In its 15-month run so far, MARSH does not yet cover its own costs; similar to other nonprofit groceries in the U.S., grants, volunteer hours, and a spirit of experimentation helps the experiment stay afloat. As the nonprofit grows, founder Beth Neff hopes to formalize the operation as a worker-owned cooperative. 

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