Our Host Organization
The National Center for Appropriate Technology—Gulf States Office is a national nonprofit with regional offices in six states, including Mississippi. Founded in 1976, NCAT’s mission is to help people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources. We do this through a wide variety of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture projects, most notably ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. NCAT’s Gulf States Office in Jackson is actively involved in farmer education projects and local food.
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.
Learn more about service in Mississippi on the FoodCorps Mississippi blog.