College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Building Communities Around Sustainability

Food Summit examines healthy food for Mississippians

Answers to the question “how do we get healthy food to Mississippians from the field to the table” will be examined during a Food Summit in Oxford.

The University of Mississippi Department of Public Policy Leadership and the Appalachian Regional Commission, collaborating with the university’s Trent Lott Leadership Institute, Office of Sustainability and Department of Nutrition and Hospitality, will present a forum for conversation around the continued effort to build a local, equitable and sustainable food economy throughout the state. The summit is held in conjunction with the fourth annual Gaining Ground Sustainable Living Conference, set for March 2-3. Registration for the Food Summit is $15. All events are open to the public, with discounts for students.

“The purpose is to set a table for policymakers, producers, consumers and all stake-holders so they can discuss the benefits of enhancing the local food economy through mechanisms like farmers’ markets, CSAs, food hubs, food banks and community gardens,” said Jody Holland, visiting assistant professor of public policy leadership. “We want to determine and identify policy barriers and incentives and look at helping coordinate a sustainable agriculture system in Mississippi.”

Holland, principal investigator in the grant that was funded by Appalachian Regional Commission, has helped coordinate the event, along with Daniel Doyle, statewide coordinator of the Mississippi Agricultural Network.

Friday events, held at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center, include panels on human and environmental health, local food systems, economics and building communities. The keynote speaker is author and food rights activist Mark Winne.

“I would like to see policy recommendations for statewide action, a structure for a local sustainable agriculture network and being a sparkplug for enhancing local economic development through the local food network,” Holland said.

For a full schedule and registration details, visit