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Mobile farmers’ market a ‘blessing’ to Mississippi’s underserved communities

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Michael Lane, owner of Lane Farms, looks over the produce he's selling on a mobile produce market on September 21, 2023 in Jackson.
Lacey Alexander, MPB news.

A farmer in northeast Mississippi is taking his produce on the road and opening a mobile farmers' market in areas across the state.

Lacey Alexander

Mobile farmers’ market a ‘blessing’ to Mississippi’s underserved communities


As farmers often do, Michael Lane takes pride in all of the produce he has on sale. Colorful produce is presented in baskets for customers to buy, and jars of pickles have carefully placed stickers explaining their unique flavors. It's a fully functional and stocked produce stand, but these items are all on display inside of a refurbished school bus.

“I just got the bus this year. … This year I had a little dream,” Lane said. “I said, you know, I'm gonna start a mobile market.”

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Squash and tomatoes grown by Lane Farms on display.
Lacey Alexander, MPB News

Lane Farms is in Plantersville, but the mobile market Lane and his wife have created goes all across northeast Mississippi. They visit farmers markets hosted by ACCESS Community Health Clinics, which are all mostly located in rural areas and serve people under a certain income level. ACCESS Director Marilyn Sumerford says Lane is a "blessing" to the communities he visits.

“What we're experiencing in Smithville is that the only place people had to buy food was at Dollar General. And when I was in there, I saw they were buying the frozen pizzas, they were buying the hotdogs and the chips and all of those things.” she said.

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The outside of the Lane Farms Mobile Market. Michael Lane refurbished the school bus last year to take his products on the road.
Lacey Alexander, MPB News.

“When people drive into that farmers' market and they see that bus parked out there, I mean, it just makes them happy,” she said. “They're excited about getting on the bus. And I mean, he truly is a blessing when you think about that. … [The Lanes] have regular jobs and then they come home and do this.”

The "regular job" she's referring to is working for a car company, but Lane says his farming work is what truly fulfills him.

“The church… everything I have left, I take it and give it to them every Sunday, whatever I have left, I donate it off to somebody, senior citizens, kids… if they ain't got to buy it, I just give it to them,” he said. “I'm blessed and I like to bless other people.”

The farmers market in Smithville runs weekly from June to October.