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Virtual workshops scheduled to develop a local food network

The growth of downtown development is exciting, and to continue this positive trend your input is needed.

On Sept. 16 and 17 a series of six interconnected virtual community planning workshops, which are part of the Local Foods, Local Places program have been scheduled.

Linda Fondren, who is the executive director of Shape Up Mississippi, said a steering committee was put together to talk about the community needs in the downtown connected area, and a lot of the things that were discussed will be part of the virtual workshops.

Topics covered in the two-day workshop will include: Promoting a Healthy Vicksburg; Including All of Our Neighbors; Leveraging Tourism and Existing Assets; and Growing Our Farmers Market.

From these workshop topics, Fondren said, ideas and suggestions for safe walking and biking downtown will be discussed. So will finding a permanent structure for the farmer’s market in an effort to attract more vendors and tourists, all while supporting local businesses.

Ideas and possible solutions for a healthy grocery store in the downtown area will be another topic of discussion.

Likewise, ideas in how to create farm-to-table type restaurants as well as how to bring a demonstration kitchen downtown where cooking classes can be held will be included in the virtual sessions.

“I often say you can look at a pot and pan on the wall, but what happens if you are able to smell, see and taste?” Fondren said. “This is what you could get in a demonstration kitchen.

“There are a number of opportunities that can happen with this (workshop) so let’s get together and talk about it. That is what this is all about, when we come together we’ll come out of this with an action plan,” Fondren said.

The workshops provided by the LFLP program are sponsored jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. Sessions are specifically geared to helping Vicksburg find solutions and develop a plan of action to create an educational and economical food hub by combining the farmers market, community garden, a demonstration kitchen and an educational center along with the Catfish Row Museum that explains the local culture and its relationship to the Mississippi River.

Ideally, Fondren is hoping people will attend all of the sessions. But for those who cannot commit to all six, there is an option to select individual workshops.

“It is necessary and vital that the community comes out to be a part of this workshop and that way we can get an action plan to implement,” she said.

The LFLP program is made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Vicksburg was one of 16 communities nationwide to receive the technical assistance through the programs.

For more information, call 601-619-7277.

For a complete listing of workshops, times offered, and or to register, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSey8khDf9V-pzMXEThPerdGxgqkwCZLfAr2XdgpASxqRQ5iiw/viewform.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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