In cooperation with their educational partner Real Food Gulf Coast (RFGC), the year-round open-air markets in Long Beach and in Ocean Springs are actively increasing local food accessibility and affordability in South Mississippi. Inspired by their success, the City of Gulfport opened a market in 2013 to accelerate access to regionally grown, healthful foods for their citizens, including those living in the areas defined as “food deserts.” In September 2014, RFGC released a report on the challenges of local food awareness in the Gulfport area in order to assist direct marketing farmers and area farmers markets in addressing those barriers. The report is the result of surveys conducted with existing market shoppers and farmers at the Long Beach and Ocean Springs Farmers Markets and surveys with residents and farmers not currently using farmers markets.
The Gulfport, Long Beach and Ocean Springs markets are all managed with volunteer labor, supported by South Mississippi Farmers Market Association.
Click here to read the report and to view the survey forms.