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Farmer's Market

Robbie Pollard of the Happy Food Project sits on the back of a bus that he one day wishes to turn into a mobile farmer market and food truck.

Robbie Pollard, a Mississippi native, started gardening in 2012 after feeling burnt out from a long career in IT. “Leaving IT brought me back to agriculture, to the land, and to myself,” said Robbie. “My grandfather was a farmer and that’s where I started my first raised bed and garden on my family's property.”

After attending different farming workshops held by Growing Power and The Alliance of Sustainable farms, networking with older farmers and folks from the Alcorn State University Extension Program, and watching YouTube farming videos, Robbie taught himself how to farm sustainably in just a few short years.

In 2014, Robbie started the Happy Foods Project, a healthy food initiative that’s part of his farm, Start 2 Finish Farms, LLC. The Happy Foods Project started out as a healthy food truck/mobile market that delivered local produce, fresh food like salads, fruit cups, and wraps to areas in the Mississippi Delta that didn’t have access to healthy food but has grown to be so much more.

Through the Happy Foods Project, Robbie is working hand in hand with other farmers and providing them with some of the resources they need to have a successful farming career like seeds, bulk purchasing and equipment sharing. They are even starting their own brand called Harvest of the Delta where they are working cooperatively to sell their produce.

In addition to his work with other farmers, Robbie is working with youth to show them that farming can be a viable career through farm visits and farm-to-school programs. He is also in his third year of working with The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi in their Farm to ECE Program connecting early care and education programs with local farmers.

“We’re building equity in the Delta by building up farmers and working with youth on our farm in the summertime,” said Robbie. “We’re training them up and showing them that you can make a viable living by growing food or having something to do with food. You might not want to grow it, but you can also operate a health food truck, you could do a mobile farmers market, or you could take produce and sell it at the farmers market.”

Robbie wants to get back to the basics and show people that you can make a significant impact on your community by learning about food, growing it, and creating access to it.

“Everybody deserves to have access to good food no matter where you are or who you are, but in the Delta a lot of times that’s not an option,” said Robbie. “Around here, you have so many small towns that don’t have grocery stores or cars to get you to the grocery store. It can feel overwhelming so that’s why we need to keep pushing for access in those areas.” The Happy Foods Project Mobile Market plans to do just that serving area in the Mississippi Delta that has no farmers markets and little to no access to fresh produce.

Lean more about the Happy Food Project at this link:

Article adapted from Partnership for a Healthier America:

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