Catfish Row Museum’s demonstration kitchen opens June 22 in downtown Vicksburg

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

Residents and visitors will get a first-hand look at The Catfish Row Museum’s demonstration/teaching kitchen at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 22 at 11 a.m.

The idea for the kitchen began in 2020 when a steering committee was formed to build on the success of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize, a national award that recognized Vicksburg’s efforts to improve the health and well-being of its residents. Vicksburg was one of eight cities to get the award.

During discussions on the kitchen, the committee requested assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Foods, Local Places program to identify the best practices for fostering a healthy community and vibrant downtown.

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With the information gathered from community conversations, the committee prepared an action plan that united two established local nonprofits, the Vicksburg Farmers Market and Vicksburg Community Garden, in a downtown food hub to create a demonstration kitchen and educational center in the Catfish Row Museum, making health a shared value.

“We value the support of the City of Vicksburg, the Warren County Board of Supervisors, and the Vicksburg Medical Foundation for this fantastic demonstration teaching kitchen,” said museum founder and Executive Director Linda Fondren. “Chefs, dietitians and schools will teach classes so participants can learn how to prepare healthy meals, and many community members and tourists will enjoy the kitchen, especially when they get the chance to enjoy the meals they have prepared.”

The ceremony will include comments by Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Warren County Board of Supervisors President Kelle Barfield and representatives from Middleby Corporation Brands, which provided the equipment for the kitchen.

The kitchen’s first program will be presented by Kathy Starr the author of “The Soul of Southern Cooking I & II: Miz Bob’s Second Batch Cooking from a Mississippi Slave Girl’s Table.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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