The Crossroads Farmers Market arose as a project of the Mississippi Delta Council for Farm Workers Opportunities, Inc. (MDCFWOI), a job training and placement agency, because of needs in our community for farmworkers to increase earnings and for low-income consumers to have easier access to quality, local fresh food.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service made it possible for us to start the Crossroads Farmers Market and begin building toward its vision of a regional food hub. We designed the market based on organizational and community assets, including an existing property with a largely empty warehouse and ample parking and the small plot farming experience of the low income farmworkers and small-scale producers with whom we work. Under the FMPP Crossroads Farm Market project, MDCFWOI launched a new farmers’ market and provided year-round farm enterprise support.
Over the last two years, we organized a small number of farmworkers into a cohesive team and provide them with specific and practical assistance that will, over time, enable them to earn more income from their efforts and sustain that income. We added community partners and pursued additional funding. The market now provides fresh and local produce to a community that, otherwise, has limited access to it. We were able to leverage one grant to build the beginning of a food hub that has the potential to create a healthier community. We have a long way to go, but the USDA funding enabled us to put down roots —or sow seeds—from which we are nurturing and growing an economic food hub for the region.