“Food Hub” To Help DeSoto Farmers, Businesses

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(Hernando, MS) There could be more fresh food on your table at home and even away, if the Hernando Farmer’s Market and the Community Foundation of North Mississippi have their way.

They’re working on a strategy to band local farmers together in a single marketing group that would help them grow more, and the rest of us to eat better.

Hernando Farmer’s Market Manager, Shelly Johnstone says she got a great idea, when a farmer came to her with extra produce he couldn’t sell, ”He said, ‘I don’t know what to do with this’ and I said, ‘why don’t we glean at the market and we’ll take that to the food pantry.”

But then she wondered if a bigger abundance might bring a profit for the farmer, and local business.

So she’s helping lead a charge in Mississippi to create so-called “food hubs” that would put local produce on the tables of local restaurants and even schools.

What would the food hub look like? Well, think Sunkist, or Ocean Spray, which are successful brands, but are in reality, growers’ co-ops that market produce.

The Community Foundation of North Mississippi lent its support to further it’s cause of getting people to eat better.

”The statistics show that processed foods are not real healthy for you, they’re high in calories and so if we can get some fresh produce to people across our eight County region, we will reduce childhood obesity,” said Peggy Linton with the Foundation.

Johnstone will meet with others at the Jackson-based Mississippi Food Policy Council to trade ideas and strategies.

She hopes to bring local farmers and businesses together to boost business for both, ”The food hub would be more about aggregating those growers and helping them to distribute and brand and market."

Because she says local food tastes better than food that’s picked green and shipped halfway across the world.