“The addition of a farmers’ market in downtown Nettleton not only offers the community greater access to fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods, but it provides a friendly atmosphere where families, friends and neighbors can gather to create new business opportunities, try new recipes and learn about sustainable food sources. We value our partnership with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to bring fresh, seasonal and delicious food directly from producers to our citizens.”
Mayor Phillip Baulch, City of Nettleton
Recognizing a healthful diet is fundamental for healthy living, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation encourages communities to establish farmers’ markets in the heart of their own cities and towns to reinforce healthy nutrition and promote overall good health. Farmers’ markets provide access to an array of fresh and in season produce from local farmers connecting communities to their food system. Farmers’ markets also offer places where families, friends and neighbors meet to enjoy healthy cooking demonstrations, receive recipe tips and get new ideas for preparing snacks and meals.
The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation supports farmers’ markets in its efforts to achieve branding as a “Mississippi Certified Farmers’ Market” - a program administered by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to promote and identify a market place specifically for Mississippi grown fruits, vegetables and other products made in the state. The designation identifies the farmers’ market as a place to purchase local produce apart from markets that are flea markets or rummage sales.
“The farmers’ market is essential and serves as a source of healthy, nutritious food for the community,” said Andy Gipson, Commissioner, Mississippi State Department of Agriculture and Commerce. “Many shoppers depend on the local farmers for their weekly grocery needs.”
Through grant funding opportunities to start a farmers’ market or enhance an existing farmers’ market, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is expanding community access to healthy food and nutrition education while creating a sustainable and vibrant community centerpiece for health and well-being.
“The City of Iuka and the Tishomingo County Farmers’ Market Committee are honored to partner with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to expand access to farm-to-table produce,” said Iuka Mayor Joel Robertson. “The Foundation’s generous support illustrates a commitment to our efforts in creating a healthy community.”
Pictured at right: Two of the farmers' markets funded by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation are in Nettleton (three top images) and Iuka (two bottom images).