By Alyssa Schnugg
Ole Miss Dining recently donated $25,000 to the Oxford Community Market for its programs that support local farmers while helping proving food to those in need.
OXCM Director Betsy Chapman said the funds will go toward the market’s mission-driven programs to support the growth and development of the local food system by increasing opportunities for farmers and food producers while implementing programs to improve access to fresh, high-quality, nutritious local food.
“We are very grateful for this tremendous gift from Ole Miss Dining, which is the largest, single donation we’ve ever received,” Chapman said. “Our market community of farmers and food producers was so honored and proud to have their years of hard work recognized in such a big way.
Chapman said she looks forward to growing the partnership with Ole Miss Dining and the University community.
“Right now, there is so much enthusiasm for local food – there are so many exciting opportunities in the local food sector to build innovative programming that supports our farmers, improves access to good food in underserved communities, fosters health and wellness, and facilitates community engagement.
The OXCM is open year-round from 3-6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Old Armory Pavilion.
Other than holding the market weekly, OXCM has several programs it holds on a regular basis to help address food insecurity and the lack of access to fresh foods.
Through a partnership with Baptist Hospital, Move on Up Mississippi and United Way, OXCM provides a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $20, to customers using SNAP benefits at the market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The market also accepts WIC/Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers.
Each week, fresh food is delivered to Oxford Food Pantry which is purchased by OXCM from the farmers at the end of each market. An anonymous donation supports this program that supports farmers, reduces food waste and improves access to fresh food in underserved communities. I
In November, OXCM sent 2999.01 pounds of local food purchased from OXCM vendors to the Pantry through our Harvest Angel Project.
The OXCM has also teamed up with the Oxford Garden Club, NextGear Cares and university student volunteers to build and maintain gardens in low-income neighborhoods.