The number of black farmers in Mississippi is growing

The number of black farmers in Mississippi is growing
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Cindy Ayers, owner of Footprint Farms in Jackson
MPB News

New efforts are underway to teach small black farmers in Mississippi how to connect with their cultural traditions while developing healthier foods for their communities. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Cindy Ayers is walking across 68 acres of land at Footprint Farms in Jackson. She says she harvests year-round on what is the largest urban farmland in Mississippi.

Ayers says she believes it important for black farmers to reconnect with the soil and understand the importance of health.

"We look at how we can grow commercially and still be able to grow healthy so we look at every technique that we can in order to not use chemical, how we can work with nature to get a better healthier plant," said Ayers.

Ayers is a member of the Southeastern African American Farmers' Organic Network. The network extends across seven states and the U.S. Virgin Islands connecting more than 100 small black farmers.

Tamara Jones is the executive director. She says while they may be relatively small, farmers are learning methods that could make a huge impact in their communities.

"Most of all our black farmers they are farming at a smaller scale. They are really aiming at local communities and so they can afford to have systems that are much healthier in terms of practices and that ultimately benefit the folks who buy and eat their foods," said Jones.

Black farmers make up a larger share of total farmers in Mississippi- more than any other southeastern state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.