Farmers’ Market grant not a politically motivated misuse of funds

Published 2:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2012

This letter is in response to Malcolm Allred’s letter published in the Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, paper about the hiring of a Market Manager and Assistant Market Manager for the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market. Being one of the founders and co-organizer of the VFM, I thought it necessary to address some of the misconceptions Mr. Allred brought up in his letter. I want to make something very clear — since the inception of the VFM five years ago, the market has been staffed 100 percent by volunteers and the market has worked very hard to create one of the largest, and most successful markets in our state.

Our growers and vendors have become our market family — and that family is largely individuals who reside in Warren County. For every seed that is planted in the ground and every loaf of bread, jam or jelly, goats milk, or fresh honey our market family is making an investment into our market, it is only right we invest in the resources to make sure they have a viable marketplace in which to sell their goods. Not to mention for every product that is purchased at our market our customers are investing in locally grown produce and products and our vendors are turning around and reinvesting the money that they make back into our economy.

This does not take into account the wonderful customers who turn around and then shop in our Main Street Taxing District and who take the time to shop and support locals.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

I am familiar with Mr. Allred because I am his neighbor. I also know that he would not be able to pick me out on the street, nor have I ever had the pleasure of having Mr. Allred volunteer at our market. This “grant” Mr. Allred speaks of is a USDA promotional grant to help us grow and publicize the market. It is to benefit agriculture, something that in itself is a large industry in our state and area. As part of that grant for the next two years we will be able to have a dedicated market manager and assistant market manager, money for items that are needed for use at the market, and money for advertising. To staff these two positions will cost the city absolutely nothing additional. It will help people, like myself, who have dedicated hundreds of hours into the market to free up time to help out on additional projects we are working on to advance the market.

Shame on Mr. Allred to make this sound like a politically motivated gain.

The VFM is sponsored by the City of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Main Street Program. With that affiliation, we are not politically motivated. We just want to offer, in a market setting, fresh produce and products.

On volunteering for the market I want to make something very clear — I have done it and will continue to do it because Vicksburg is a wonderful place, it’s a fantastic city and I want to see positive and effective things taking place.

When was the last time you asked yourself, “What can I do to better the place that I live in?

If perhaps more time was taken to do good works and good deeds we wouldn’t have to harbor thoughts that what everyone was doing was politically motivated or a misuse of taxpayers dollars. Perhaps we could see what is being done as something that is good and right for our city.

I also would like to point out I do not work for the city, but I will very gladly give my time to help projects and programs that are very near and dear to me. We have an incredible downtown area, incredible resources, and all the right ingredients to make a very successful city.

I hope Mr. Allred and others will join me in helping to make positive changes to where we live.

Kristen Meehan

Co-Organizer Vicksburg Farmers’ Market and Co-Chair Vicksburg Main Street Program