The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative has obtained authorization to accept SNAP benefits for purchases at the Mobile Market. Consumer outreach and education to galvanize support for the market will continue in Spring 2018. Significant potential for expanding job opportunities for area young people has become evident. The North Bolivar County Good Food Revolution is already gaining recognition and we are committed to building a model that could be replicated in other Delta communities.
Local food producers gathered to discuss ways to increase their production and develop marketing strategies to ensure an adequate supply of fresh produce for community members. Stipends will be made available to local growers who sign an agreement to provide fruits and vegetables for the proposed mobile market. Several have already made that commitment!
Twenty three young people were recruited by MEGA (Mississippians Engaged in Greener Agriculture), the three local mayors, and local attorney, Julian Miller, Delta Fresh Foods Board Member. The students were trained in September 2017 by Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, Chair of the Sociology Department at MS State University. In October and November, these great students spent four Saturdays surveying more than 210 households in the three communities to find out where and how local residents get fresh produce, and what could be done to make more healthy food accessible. One key finding from the survey indicates that 88% of those surveyed say they will support a mobile market that provides fresh, local produce. Additional information gathered from the surveys was reviewed with representatives from all three communities, and a Local Advisory Board has been established to ensure local leadership and input as the project moves forward.
To promote the nutritional benefits of locally grown sweet potatoes, seventeen 40-pound boxes of potatoes from Louis and Martha Sanders' farm in Mound Bayou were distributed through MEGA’s Food Pantry and at a special event at Pilgrim’s Chapel MB Church in Winstonville in December 2017. Marketing for the benefits of a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables this coming Spring will include healthy cooking demonstrations and taste tests, presentations to several groups, and the first annual North Bolivar County Farm to Table gathering in March 2018. The event, featuring Dr. Michael Minor as our keynote speaker, will be held in the Fred Clark Family Life Center at Lampton Street Church of Christ in Mound Bayou and will feature healthy, local foods. Our young Good Food Ambassadors are excited to share their experiences with the project thus far and how growing and buying local food can bring jobs and better health to the region.
The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative is proud to help facilitate the "North Bolivar County Good Food Revolution," bringing jobs and fresh, nutritious food to residents of Bolivar County, MS. Things are beginning to change in Mound Bayou, Shelby and Winstonville, and neighboring communities are asking for the Delta Fresh Foods Mobile Market to visit them. We are developing and documenting a model for replication by every community seeking better food, economic growth and sustainable community revitalization.
Community food producers, community leaders, local residents and a local funder in Bolivar County, MS are rewriting their own stories about food. Local youth are training to increase production on two local farms using high tunnels. Fresh produce is made available to 5,000 residents via the Delta Fresh Foods Mobile Produce Market, managed by the youth. Area residents are learning how food can help or harm health and discovering the truth about the nutritional gap between highly-processed and fresh, local food. Together, we're discovering the economic benefits of food sovereignty and beginning to shift toward understanding food as medicine.
Follow the Delta Fresh Foods Initiative on Facebook for updates including locations, dates and times for the Mobile Market.
The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative launched the North Bolivar County Good Food Revolution to support strengthening a sustainable food system of local growers, community leaders, health providers, schools, and other partners who want to bring economic opportunities and better health outcomes to Shelby, Mound Bayou and Winstonville, Mississippi.
Together we support increased sustainable, regenerative food production, transformative consumer education, leadership development for youth in community engagement and food justice, and easy access to healthy food through the Delta Fresh Foods Mobile Market. Together we are changing the narrative about the rural Mississippi Delta as we tackle the economic and health disparities that have plagued our communities for so long. Together we continue to bring partners to the table.