Project helps strengthen local foods network
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Mississippi food producers, buyers, economic developers and marketing professionals can attend an upcoming session of the Local Foods Resource Mapping Project to help strengthen the state’s local food network.
Mississippi is one of six states hosting the pilot project aimed at connecting people interested in the growing farm-to-table movement. Other participating states are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky and North Carolina.
“Nationwide there are more and more requests for assistance related to local and regional food systems,” said Chance McDavid, a community and economic development specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “This project will help everyone involved get a better sense of the local foods infrastructure, identify gaps within the system, and explore potential entrepreneurial opportunities that may exist.”
Sessions will function like focus groups to allow individuals and groups to share ideas and ask questions.
Producers, restauranteurs, caterers, grocers, hospitals, transporters, distributors, wholesale buyers, cooperative managers, food pantries, university faculty, economic developers, farmers market managers, university and public school food service managers, and others can attend.
“Local food system development is also about economic and community development,” said Leslie Hossfeld, project co-leader, professor and head of the MSU Department of Sociology and founder of the Mississippi Food Insecurity Project. “This is an opportunity for people to participate in building a strong system for producers, buyers and consumers of locally grown foods in Mississippi.”
Eleven meetings are now scheduled throughout the state:
- Oct. 12 in Lorman from 9:30 a.m. to noon
- Oct. 13 in Marks from 9:30 a.m. to noon
- Oct. 19 in Jackson from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 20 in Hattiesburg from 9:30 a.m. to noon
- Oct. 21 in Gulfport from 9:30 a.m. to noon
- Oct. 24 in Greenwood from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 26 in Hernando from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
- Oct. 31 in Verona from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
- Nov. 2 in Oxford from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
- Nov. 4 in Corinth from 9:30 a.m. to noon
- Nov. 8 in Starkville from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
Additional sessions may be scheduled soon.
Registration is free and will close three days before each meeting. To see a listing of all scheduled sessions and to register, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/msufoods.
For more information, contact Chance McDavid at 601-857-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Rural Development Center teamed up with the MSU Extension Service, MSU Department of Agricultural Economics and MSU Department of Sociology to plan and host the meetings. The project is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and directed nationally by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.