The NCAT Gulf States Office was pleased recently to host the NCAT board of directors meeting, celebrating the opening of its office and taking the directors on a tour of sustainable farms in Mississippi.
Due to time constraints, the itinerary was limited to three farms which demonstrate a commitment to sustainable agricultural practices:
— The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production demonstration farm at Goodman, MS.
Operated by Ms. Mattie Coleman, the 100-acre family farm has four acres set aside for sustainable farming, overseen by ASAP Executive Director Keith Benson. The Alliance grows crops using sustainable agriculture techniques and sells at Rainbow Natural Grocery in Jackson, among other venues. It has monthly field days open to the public where visitors are invited to tour the farm, learning organic growing techniques and share their experiences. Each month, agricultural experts are invited to the field day to give presentations on topics pertinent to small growers. For more information, contact Keith Benson at 601-988-4999 or firstname.lastname@example.org
— Francis Flowers and Herbs Farm at Pickens, MS.
Operated by Mark and Earcine Evans, the family farm in Holmes County is one of the few biodynamic farming operations in Mississippi. Earcine is known far and wide for her knowledge of herbs, both commercially grown and wildcrafted. The couple raises biodynamic flowers, herbs and vegetables year-round and she produces a line of health products from the grown and foraged herbs and plants. They also offer Biodynamic Field Broadcaster training (Mark makes the biodynamic broadcasters), biodynamic supplies and installation, as well as biodynamic nutrients for growers’ soil. They offer farm consultations, as well. They sell their produce and products at the Mississippi Farmers Market on High Street in Jackson. For more information, contact Earcine at: (662) 834-2238.
— Foot Print Farms within the city limits of Jackson, MS.
Operated by former Wall Street investment banker Cindy Ayers Elliott, Foot Print Farms raises goats almost within sight of the some of The Capital City’s most bustling areas, including MetroCenter Mall. Cindy moved back to Mississippi after only three years, trading her stock portfolio for livestock, and has become a successful role model for urban agriculture enthusiasts. In 2013, she was elected president of the Mississippi Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association. She recently was featured on the Katie Couric show for her “back to her roots” story.
After the Feb. 21 farm tours, NCAT board members were feted at an open house at the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity Building at the old New Deal Grocery at the Jackson Medical Mall, where the NCAT Gulf States Office is located. Various dignitaries attended from around the state, including representatives from the state Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and its JSU Farmers Network, the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, and other state and local groups.
The NCAT Gulf States Office is eager to assist farmers in the five-state region (MS, LA, AL, GA, FL) transitioning to sustainable practices, as well as new and beginning farmers, and established farmers seeking information and expertise. For more information, contact Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods toll-free at (866) 643-2767.