Downtown Farmers Market Every Thursday


BY: Yasmine Malone | June 10, 2024

Clarksdale, Mississippi – On June 6th, the first of many Downtown Clarksdale Farmers Markets opened in the Collective Seed courtyard. Fresh local foods are available for purchase every Thursday evening from June 6 to August 29, from 5 PM to 7 PM.

The first 100 visitors to the farmers market were awarded a $10 voucher to shop with the various local vendors. I asked Bennie Brown, as he sold cabbage to patrons of the farmers market, “What makes this farmers market experience different from others you have vended before?” He said, “Rootswell also pledged to purchase all of the remaining produce from farmers following the market.” Locals and farmers will undoubtedly benefit greatly from continued collaboration.

Fostering a healthier environment for these fresh produce markets to thrive could be the key to tapping into unexplored solutions to healthcare in the Delta, targeting food insecurity in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta region is considered a food desert because a significant percentage of individuals lack transportation or have limited access to high-quality nutritious food, vegetables, and fruit.

Despite the increased demand for fast foods, farmers and agricultural specialists still play a critical part in the effort to increase child and adult health nutrition. Consuming fruit, vegetables, spices, and herbs is an effective and natural form of preventative medicine.

Delta agriculture is uniquely valuable because of the innovative resilience, cultural richness, and defining history black farmers have had to face in order to be able to provide for the Delta. In particular, small farmers and black farmers have difficulty competing for resources and store space compared to larger farms, even though they have safer processing and handling of their produce.

With large corporate food suppliers, options are hefty, but the community is constantly at risk of critical food insecurity. One decision or catastrophic event, like a pandemic, could collapse the integrity of the food supply chain in the Delta. We have witnessed this through the departure of our second-largest grocer, Kroger.

Farmers markets provide a unique opportunity to support local producers, supply higher quality produce, and may also protect families from toxic chemical exposure used by large food retailers through pesticides and preservatives.

This farmers market represents a fundamental truth: Delta communities are stronger when local entities collaborate to develop localized solutions. The Downtown Farmers Market is made possible through the collaboration of Rootswell, Coahoma Collective, and Collective Seed and Supply Co.

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