Lettuce Celebrate Food Day 2014

Lettuce Celebrate Food Day 2014

National Food Day is this Friday, October 24th!  I started celebrating today by hosting a program at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi.  We celebrated with the hardworking, under-appreciated lettuce!

Here are some lettuce facts!

Lettuce was originally grown for medicinal purposes rather than to be eaten.  The first Roman Emperor, Augustus, who ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD, was said to have been cured of a serious illness by eating lettuce.

Lettuce is meant to contain a natural chemical that helps you sleep.  Romans ate lettuce at the end of dinner to help calm their stomach and make them sleepy.

Iceberg lettuce was developed in the United States and got its name from the way it was packed with ice to survive transportation in warm temperatures.

What’s going on…Orlando!

What’s going on…Orlando!

I know, I know!  I have been a total slacker when it comes to my blog!  But I have been on the road learning and teaching!  Last week I was in Orlando, Florida for the annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science.  I presented a poster about teaching Good Agricultural and Handling Practices to Mississippi producers.   I was also invited to speak at the Industry and Extension Division breakfast about using Pinterest for programming!  There was a lot of interest and the group was very receptive.  I hope I gain a few new Pinterest followers as a result!  You can follow me on Pinterest, too!  Just look for veggiedr!


ASHS 2014 gaps ghps





ASHS 2014 Pinterest Extension bfast

Perennial Specialty Crops

Perennial Specialty Crops

We had a great turn out at the Beaumont Horticultural Unit’s annual field day last week!  We had a terrific program filled with lots of good information.  Today, I’d like to share a couple of handouts about perennial specialty crops.

Dr. Wayne Porter and myself received a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.  Our objective was to evaluate perennial crops in Mississippi.  Two of the crops we are looking at are asparagus and hops.  Below you will find handouts for each of these crops.  (A special thanks to Scott Langlois for his work with the hops project!)


BHU Field Day Perennial Crops

Beaumont Field Day 2014 Hops

Exciting School Garden Funding Opportunity!

Exciting School Garden Funding Opportunity!

Growing Lunch-A School Garden Grant Program

Growing Lunch is a school garden grant program administered through the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce with the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  Eligible schools can receive a grant up to $500 to purchase supplies needed to plant a school garden. Growing Lunch seeks to enhance the Farm to School program across the state.  Farm to School provides locally-grown produce to our state’s schools and also seeks to educate students on agriculture.  This program will act as an educational tool to enhance the knowledge of school-aged children on agriculture, healthy eating, and how food arrives on their plate three times a day.  As society becomes increasingly further away from agricultural practices and the farm, it remains pertinent to educate students on the origin of their food; MDAC has designated a website for those interested in the Farm to School Program and educational resources and materials for Farm to School Week, www.farmtoschoolweek.org.


All schools, K-12, in the State of Mississippi are eligible to apply, although this program is ideally geared towards younger school-aged children.  For more information, please see the application (link below) or contact Susan Head at susan@mdac.ms.gov.

School Garden Grant Info Application

Southern Gardening for May 5, 2014 – Use container gardening for vegetable production



Two of my favorite gardening topics: vegetables and containers! I hope you enjoy this info from my friend and colleague, Dr. Gary Bachman!

Originally posted on Southern Gardening:

There’s nothing like preparing a meal using vegetables that were picked only five minutes earlier. That goal drives the efforts of many home gardeners.


View original

USDA Media Advisory Regarding Support for Local Foods


USDA Secretary Vilsack Hosts Media Call to Announce Historic USDA Support for Local Food Systems

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2014—TOMORROW, Thursday, May 8 at 1:15 pm EDT, USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce historic investment opportunities to strengthen local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises. The funding Vilsack will announce comes through programs authorized by the new 2014 Farm Bill.

As consumer demand for locally-grown food continues to skyrocket and the local food industry matures and expands, Secretary Vilsack has identified local food as one of the four pillars of USDA’s commitment to rural economic development. USDA support of local food gives farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provides consumers with more choices, and creates jobs.

EBT-MarketLink Workshop to be held on May 7th and 8th


EBT-Marketlink Workshop for Growers

On May 7th and 8th, 2014 there will be a meeting for fruit and vegetable growers that are currently or are potential participants at farmers markets that are interested in accepting SNAP/EBT payments, debit and credit payments at farmers markets and on the farm as well.  At this meeting growers will get information about Marketlink, which is a new USDA program designed to provide eligible growers with free machines that combine all these payment transactions into one piece of equipment, a printer and an IPhone, meanwhile providing reasonable transaction rates.


In addition, the Food and Nutrition Service for USDA will have staff members present to assist growers with the USDA authorization application process.  In addition, there will be representatives of WorldPay, who is the third party processor for MarketLink, on hand to assist with completing the application for the processing agreement application.  The Mississippi Department of Human Services will be attending as well.


Workshops will be on May 7 at 10:00 a.m. in Jackson, MS at the MS Ag and Forestry Museum.  On May 8, the workshop will be held in Grenade, MS at the MSU Extension Building.  It is important for the registration to be completed to assist us with gauging potential attendance. For more information please see the attached information or contact Purvie Green at purvie@mdac.ms.gov or 601-359-1168.


Complete information, registration form, and directions can be found here:

Mississippi Marketlink ebt meeting info registration form and directions