A new program kicks off today in Jackson to get healthy, affordable produce to families in Mississippi.
The Farm-to-Fork Project is a partnership between the Alcorn State University Extension Program and United Healthcare Community Plan. The university's extension program in Mound Bayou grows vegetables, but has discovered that they have more food than they can use.
United Healthcare will buy some of the produce from Alcorn, and plans to distribute the vegetables at the Jackson Medical Mall every Wednesday, probably in the evening so that people can come pick up the produce after work.
People who have a United Healthcare card can get the vegetables for free, and everyone else can buy them for $5 per bag.
"We want to promote a healthier lifestyle for individuals," said Tangela Parker, manager of business and community development at United Healthcare.
Food through the Farm-to-Fork Project will be available in Jackson and the Delta beginning May 2, and plans are in the works to expand to more locations around the state in the future.
The project kicked off at the Medical Mall today with a free lunch for supporters and those interested in the program.
"Today they have turnip greens, mustard greens, lettuce and spinach," Parker said, adding that as the season progresses, the produce available will include cucumbers and other summer vegetables. The program will run from May through the end of September.