Locally Produced Foods Important to Lafayette County Mississippi
By Betsy Lynch and Ashley Lance
It’s time to start gathering your spring vegetables and prepare for the summer harvest season.
In Oxford-Lafayette County, Community Supported Agriculture programs are becoming increasingly more popular; however, CSA’s encompass a lot more than your stereotypical farm fresh vegetables.
The Oxford Equine Center is one example of Community Supported Agriculture in which owner Steve Campbell is getting creative with ways to sufficiently provide vegetables and dairy products for himself and the surrounding community.
According to Campbell, “I just got curious of how the old people did stuff. How did a person take a wagon and a cow and drive out to the West somewhere and make it.”
So, how is a CSA different than a backyard garden?
“It’s where the producer is actually growing the product, vegetables or fruit or livestock or dairy, and giving a community the opportunity to purchase that with the understanding of where it came from,” said Margaret Webb of the Miss. State Extension Service.
Along with being in charge of 4-H programs in the county, Webb is actively involved with local farms, the Oxford Community Garden, and the Midtown Farmer’s Market.
According to Webb, Lafayette County has just been issued a $61,000 federal grant to start another Farmer’s Market to serve the surrounding community.
Cambell says that it was from the people at the Midtown Farmer’s Market where he first heard of the need for goats’ milk. He decided that it could be a fun new hobby and potentially a profitable business that would fill a void in the community.
“We realize there is a market for selling goat’s milk,” said Campbell. “So that was our goal to have a small dairy and to sell the goat milk to these specialty people who were interested in goat milk.”
According to Webb, those working within CSA programs are often interested in doing more than providing a fresh local product.
Luke Heiskell, owner of Woodson Ridge Farms, says the food he grows could help people become healthier too.
“There is a big difference in the taste and especially the nutrient value of the food. Plus, it’s just the way it is supposed to be,” Heiskell said
“Not only does it help the community, and there is a market it for it, but it also builds a relationship between the producer and the clientele, ” said Webb.