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Mississippi

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Our Host Organization

Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Inc.’s mission is to achieve health equity by changing institutions to become supportive of the community’s efforts to be healthy. Since 2004, the Roadmap programs have contributed to the overall health and well-being of approximately 50,000 Jackson residents, through its school-based initiatives.

Over the years, Mississippi has become ground zero for poor health outcomes caused by obesity. Last year alone, the state spent $900 Million on obesity-related illnesses. The Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Inc., and FoodCorps have teamed up to put a stop to these health problems and disparities that disproportionately impact African American communities in Mississippi. A key consideration for developing healthy children and youth is the need to link health disparity with social change. Investment in nutrition and in education is essential to break the cycle of poverty and food insecurity. Mississippi Roadmap believes that schools can make an important contribution to Mississippi’s efforts to overcome hunger and malnutrition, and that school gardens can help to improve the nutrition and education of children and their families in both rural and urban areas. In this regard, it is important to stress that school gardens are a platform for learning.

 

Why Serve in Mississippi?

Mississippi is the birthplace of American music, a major arena in the Civil Rights Movement, and the home of many of our nation’s most prolific voices and creative minds - Richard Wright, William Faulkner, BB King, Tennessee Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Henson, David Banner and Eudora Welty. Step onto soil in the Mississippi Delta and you’ll walk over agricultural gems. With the river flooding once a year and a moderate winter temperature, beneficial microbes continue improving the quality of the land throughout the entire year; there is no fallow season in our neck of the woods! However, the agricultural history of the state has stripped the soil of its nutrients and left a heavy impact on the socioeconomics in both urban and rural areas.

Most adults in Mississippi are familiar with the process of growing food because of their grandmas’ backyard gardens, their families’ farms in the country and the state’s unsettling agricultural and social history. And as in many other places, most adults in Mississippi will agree that the climate of food has become increasingly unhealthy as more and more people steer clear of agricultural lifestyles, and lean on convenience foods to support urban living. However, there is a growing community of people around the state that are committed to healing our connection to the land and food production, through community-oriented agriculture. Volunteers from many walks of life have offered contributions to our new school gardens over the last few years. Bus drivers brought extra seeds; local artists painted garden art on scrap materials; nearby fruit growers donated trees and bushes; local non-profits committed to helping with work days; architects designed garden sheds and neighbors of the gardens offered a watchful eye.

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Learn more about service in Mississippi on the FoodCorps Mississippi blog.

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