Committed to building sustainable, equitable,
community-driven food systems to strengthen
the local food economy and promote healthy
lifestyles in the Mississippi Delta.

The Delta Fresh Foods Initiative engages in a variety of projects that support one or more of the following goals:

Growing Together Garden Awards October 25th

Awards for Summer 2012 Growing Together Garden will be presented at our Harvest Celebration on October 25th in Clarksdale. Join us for an exciting evening featuring foods from local gardens and celebrate winning church, community and school gardens from across the Delta.

The Growing Together network will be expanding this fall, so join us for the Harvest Celebration and learn all about trainings and networking opportunities coming up! Contact Ryan Betz at rbetz@deltahealthalliance.org for information about the Growing Together Garden network.

To make a reservation for the Harvest Celebration, call Judy at 662-404-5004 or email jwbelue1@gmail.com.

Coahoma Good Food Revolution Cooking Classes were a huge success!

Groups from Chapel Hill MB, Rose Chapel COGIC along with youth in the Spring after-school program had a great time learning together in the Viking Kitchen at the Coahoma County Higher Ed Center with their enthusiastic and skilled instructor, Angie Crawford, MS State Extension Service of Quitman County. Vegetables from four raised beds at the CCHEC were used in cooking classes and each participant went away with a booklet of delicious recipes for healthier menu choices. The classes are featured on NBC News in July and the video is posted on the front page of the DFFI website!

An exciting addition to the cooking classes for fall and winter will feature fantastic recipes from the African Heritage diet. Delta Fresh Foods is partnering with Oldways and MS State Extension Service to explore some new twists on old customs in the “Taste of African Heritage” cookbook just released by Oldways.

If your church or other group would like to sign up for classes, please contact Judy Belue as soon as possible at (662) 404-5004 or jwbelue1@gmail.com. Class size is limited to 16 and there is no charge to participate in the six-week course.

EBT use at Farmers Markets (Outreach and Promotion to increase use of EBT Benefits to purchase fresh, local produce)

Both growers and consumers in the MS Delta have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a project that enables EBT benefits to be accepted at local Farmers Markets.

This is a win-win economically and will provide much better access to Mississippi grown food!

If you are a grower who would like assistance in applying for free electronic equipment to accept EBT benefits or a consumer who wants to know more about what Farmers' Markets accept EBT benefits, we can help! Contact: Judy Belue at (662) 404-5004 or jwbelue1@gmail.com.

Farm to School

This spring, Delta Fresh Foods brought on a great Farm to School Coordinator, Ryan Betz, who has begun a pilot project to help local food service directors work through the process of buying produce from local growers. Betz works closely with DFFI Project Coordinator, Judy Belue, who serves as grower liaison. On August 9th, the Delta Farm to School team celebrated our first success with 1000# of watermelons from a Holmes County farm being sold to seven schools in the Mound Bayou and Coahoma County School Districts. Congratulations and thanks to Food Service Directors Rose Tate and Eddye Johnson and grower Keith Benson for your leadership and hard work to help get Farm to School in the MS Delta off to a great start!

See the photos and learn more about this in the Farm to School success story here.

Make your reservations and learn more about Farm to School success stories in Mississippi at the October 25th Harvest Celebration in Clarksdale. Reservations are required but there is no charge for attending this event!

The first Farm to School Conference in Mississippi will be held November 14th in Jackson. See the calendar for more information.

Delta Regional Farmers Market Alliance: Promoting and strengthening local markets through networking, technical assistance and advertisement throughout the Delta Fresh Foods coalition.

As Farmers' Markets continue to grow and thrive in several Delta communities, this project seeks to facilitate networking and mutual benefits among market managers and to foster emerging Farmers Markets in "food deserts" in the region.

For more information, contact Judy Belue at jwbelue1@gmail.com or Nathan Rosenberg at nate.Rosenberg@gmail.com.

We Want Your Input . . .

If you are a market manager and you have not had an opportunity to complete the statewide Farmers Market Survey, please let us know and we will email a link to you or mail a hard copy if more convenient.

Continuing Education for Growers

Watch for workshops and seminars provided by the Delta Fresh Foods Education Committee to help vegetable growers increase their production and income. The Education Committee is assembling an annual calendar of trainings in the region provided by several organizations including MEGA, USDA, Alcorn State Extension Service and others.

Contact Dorothy Grady Scarbrough at (662) 402-4798 or dotscarbrough@bellsouth.net for more information.