The Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market was established in 2008 as a project of Main Street Greenwood, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote economic development and revitalization in this Delta town, once known as the Cotton Capital of the World. Located along the old Columbus and Greenville Railway, the Market connects two parts of Greenwood that have long been separated. Every Saturday from May through September, up to 15 vendors from Greenwood and surrounding counties set up tents, offering everything from blueberries to barbecue. The Market offers support for local growers and make fresh foods available to people who might not otherwise have access to them. It has become a gathering place for all members of the community—rich and poor, young and old, black and white.
The Market is within walking distance of the Alluvian, a boutique hotel, as well as some of Greenwood’s low-income neighborhoods. A tourist might take home a loaf of artisanal bread baked by Donald Bender of Mockingbird Bakery, while a local might purchase turnip greens from Hallie Streater of Streater Farm and pay with cash-value vouchers, the product of a government program created to ensure low-income families access to fresh food.
Vendors at the Market offer fascinating insight to Mississippi Delta’s agricultural history, as well as examples of small-scale producers who have found a new way to supplement existing income. They also speak to the community that is cultivated at the Market every Saturday during the season.
Meet John D. Ashcraft III, who grew up on Roebuck Plantation, a cotton farm just outside of Greenwood, and now grows blueberries. Hear Leann Hines talk about how the Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market was the catalyst for her pastured poultry business. Listen to Alisa Lay talk about the longhorn okra seeds that her family has saved for almost 200 years and how she shares her family’s heritage with customers at the Market. Listen to each of them talk about the connections they’ve made through food.
These are the stories of the Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market.
Funding from Anson Mills, the South Carolina grower and miller of grains, drives SFA's agricultural oral histories.