Comments made at the Crossroads Farmers Market Launch and Celebration of Partners and New Programs, Aug. 20, 2013, Clarksdale:
Mississippi Delta Council Executive Director Don Green asked me to say a few words about new programming coming to this facility, and about the connection between the two major partners in the projects being announced today.
• help launch Mississippi Delta Council’s Crossroads Farmers Market, and
• celebrate Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative’s grant award for its value-added producer work.
These new programs—both of which have the support of USDA—are part of an evolving regional economic development strategy that involves developing this commercial warehouse and property as a social enterprise. Currently, the facility is owned by the nonprofit Mississippi Delta Council for Farm Worker Opportunities, Inc. (MDC) and is used for workforce development training, a monthly food assistance distribution, and when needed, as a disaster relief distribution center.
The vision for the facility is for it to evolve as an anchor location for the development of a “food hub” for economic development in the Mississippi Delta. MDC has pilot funding from USDA to develop the farmers market and to deliver beginning farm business training. Together, with SRBWI, MDC hopes to build a shared commercial kitchen and storefront for locally-produced value-added products and cold fresh foods. They—and we—are actively seeking funding and other partners to develop and implement this vision. If interested in working with on this, let any of us know!
The way I see it is—MDC is fundamentally about employment, increasing incomes, and generating opportunities for people to fully participate in community and economic life. One thing that can make that possible is collaboration with strong partners, such as SRBWI.
—Amy Kincaid, ChangeMatters, Benefit LLC