When I moved to the North side of Jackson, MS a few months ago, several people told me about different local farms where I could subscribe to a weekly box of fresh vegetables. These are called CSA programs, and they are quite popular among people who can afford them. But if you live in North Jackson, you are surrounded by grocery stores. Getting fresh vegetables is no problem at all.
But in South and West Jackson, it is a different story altogether. You may as well be in a different city – a city that is short of grocery stores, and whose residents mostly rely on gas stations and fast food restaurants to survive. In that part of town, being miles and miles from fresh vegetables is not uncommon. (I go into some detail about how dire it is in this post)
Who needs a farm to provide them fresh fruits and vegetables? These people.
So we decided to start one.
Using high-intensity farming methods, along with some basic season extending technology, such as hoop houses and low tunnels, we will grow fresh fruits and vegetables and provide them to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
To do this, we will need land, equipment, and some help.
There is so much unused land in Jackson, MS. Abandoned houses, churches that have acres of grass they pay someone to mow, vacant lots. We have secured two vacant lots already, and have lines on others, but what we really need is a base of operations – a place we can modify as we need it, where we can erect permanent greenhouses and irrigation systems, where we can teach classes and host groups.
So last week we made an offer on a bit more than an acre of land in West Jackson, that already has utilities, a permanent shed, and some improvements. They accepted, and we close on it March 31st.
Because we will be multi-site, we will need a trailer to move equipment from place to place, as well as all your typical farm equipment – tillers, hand tools, wagons, seed starting equipment, and eventually, a truck to haul things around.
We already have a good tiller someone donated and some hand tools. But there is a lot we still need, and right now that tiller is sitting in someone’s garage because we don’t have a trailer to move it from site to site.
This is where you come in. We need $3500 to close on the land. We need $6000 for permanent equipment, hoop houses, and so on. And that is to get started. We believe we can get grants to help with some of our ongoing costs, but grants are much more likely to come to existing concerns rather than start-ups. You can learn how to donate here.
We also need some physical help – we have several groups that have already signed up for work days, and we are hosting a group of Mennonite students from Iowa week at the end of the month. But if you or your church group, work team, or knitting circle want to come to help us out, we would love to talk to you about what that looks like.
We have big plans – but with your help, we can totally do this. Together, we can make sure that everyone can eat healthy, fresh food, regardless of their economic circumstances.
Click here to donate now!