NPQ and Frontline Solutions have published an article discussing the Mississppi Delta region and the challeges currently being faced by Black farmers in securing the region's food market.
This article concludes Black Food Sovereignty: Stories from the Field, a series that has been co-produced by Frontline Solutions and NPQ. This series features stories from a group of Black food sovereignty leaders who are working to transform the food system at the local level. It explores how these leaders are addressing critical issues at the intersection of food sovereignty, racial and economic justice, and community.
Mississippi has a rich culture, but for generations, its Black communities have experienced health inequities intertwined with discrimination, poverty, and racial exclusion. The state, indeed, has a crippling legacy of encouraging economic exploitation, virulent racism, and extreme poverty—rooted in racial capitalism and the South’s slavery-based agrarian economy, vestiges of which persist today.
This is particularly true for the Mississippi Delta region, comprised of 18 counties in Northwest Mississippi. The delta is a largely rural, agricultural area with a troubled history of racial and economic disparities. Although farmland is abundant in the region, the number of Black-owned family farms has dwindled. Of the food grown in the delta and the overall $6 billion in food that is grown in Mississippi, 90 percent is exported, as a 2014 report from the nonprofit, Crossroads Resource Center, documents. Conversely, the same report documents that 90 percent of food consumed in the delta and statewide is sourced elsewhere.