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Farmer’s market on move

NATCHEZ — Alcorn State University’s farmer’s market needs room to grow in more ways than one, said Ruth Nichols, director of external relations of institutional advancement at Alcorn.

The market’s current venue, located on St. Catherine Street, isn’t really conducive to an active farmer’s market, she said. Additionally, the area is not as large or developed as those that the market would prefer.

If the farmer’s market were located in a bigger place where there was green space available, Nichols said, demonstrations would be possible so that people could learn how plants and vegetables grow.

“We could hopefully engage children in a big way,” she said. “If we have green space it could open up a lot more possibilities for training children, and even adults, about growing (vegetables).”

A bigger space could also mean being able to try out growing organic goods and possibly provide an outlet for research, she said. Furthermore, having green space would benefit the farmers and serve as an economic boost.

“We could perhaps even get a place that small events could be held,” Nichols said. “We could make it very accessible, not only to tourists, but the local community, as well.”

Nichols said she and a few others are looking into venues, but they’re in the preliminary stages of finding a new home.

One place they’ve looked into is the old Margaret Martin school building, which includes a small space for a business incubator — a place where start-up businesses can become more established. The building comes equipped with a kitchen.

“We went to the old Margaret Martin basement to look at kitchen equipment, and we’re just trying to gather facts and information so that we, as a group, can come up with possibilities (for a new location).”

Though no decisions have been made as to where the market will relocate, Nichols said she’s already considered funding.

“The (Alcorn) School of Agriculture has some funding, not specified for the farmer’s market, but the farmer’s market concept gets in so closely with the mission of the School of Agriculture that part of the supplement would come from there,” she said.

Nichols said the market will also have support from the city and county in providing ideas about where Alcorn could secure grants.

“We’re just in the very initial stages of this planning,” she said. “It’s sort of like the sky is the limit, but we know we have limitations, as well.”