Alcorn Helps Increase Farmers’ Success in Local Food Markets
Purple hull peas delivered to local food markets by the
North Delta Produce Growers Association and other local farmers with Alcorn’s assistance.
“In 2015, Alcorn State University’s Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center (MSFAC), housed in the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences, continued assisting local farmers to increase their opportunities and presence in conventional food markets by having their produce flow through mainstream grocery stores,” said Elizabeth Myles, the Center’s marketing specialist. “The demand for locally produced food is on the rise as customers want to know where their food comes from.”
Marketing relationships with buyers from Walmart, Robinson Fresh (formerly C. H. Robinson), M. Palazola, Kroger, numerous restaurants, local supermarkets and farmers markets, established in 2009 with the help of the Center’s staff and Alcorn Extension Program personnel, have been growing ever since.
“The project has generated $146,220.00 for the participating farmers since 2011,” said Myles. “Also, last calendar year was a successful period for the Mississippi Delta farmers and Alcorn’s vegetable processing facility that is located in Marks (Quitman County). North Delta Produce Growers Association and other local farmers delivered over 21,000 clamshells and bags combined of purple hull peas to the established buyers. This is a huge increase of over 12,000 clamshells in 2014.”
Percy Baldwin, plant manager of Alcorn’s vegetable processing facility agreed with her and added, “The purple hull pea project was a huge success. It has brought in new farmers who continue to motivate other farmers to produce and participate. We are looking forward to another successful year in 2016.”
According to Myles, the 2016 marketing plan includes produce offerings expansion as well increasing output of the vegetable processing facility in Marks, Mississippi, which is operated by Alcorn’s Extension Program.
M. Palazola, Kroger and Walmart customers have been very responsive to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce’s “Make Mine Mississippi” initiative that promotes consumption of locally-grown produce.
“They enjoy the fact that their food is home-grown, fresh and healthy and are happy to support local producers,” said Myles.
For more information on how farmers and businesses can join the project, contact Elizabeth Myles at (601) 877-3947, [email protected], or Dr. Magid Dagher, Center’s director, at (601) 877-6449 or [email protected].