Recent Publications

COVID-19 Response: Resources for Small and Mid-Size Farms in Mississippi

Emily Broad Leib, Alex Ramsey, and Emma I. Scott of the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a number of new and difficult challenges for families, small business owners, and food producers across the country. This Issue Brief provides an overview of the resources... PDF Download

COVID‐19 Response: Feeding Mississippi Children During School Closure

Emily Broad Leib, Suzanne Donahue, and Emma Scott of the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic

Across the country, states have needed to use school closures and remote learning as strategies for reducing the spread of COVID‐19. On April 14, 2020, Mississippi leaders announced that children... PDF Download

The Economic Impact of Potential Closures of Rural Hospitals in Mississippi

M. Maya McDoom, Ph.D., M.P.H., Cyril Chang, Ph.D., John Gnuschke, Ph.D., et al.

Rural hospitals across the nation are facing a crisis due to ever-changing economic, policy, and population factors. To better understand how the present economic climate and policies are impacting... PDF Download

Improving Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment in Juvenile Detention Facilities

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

Mental health and substance abuse treatment services are an essential component of a well-functioning rehabilitative juvenile justice system. These services are especially important in juvenile detention... PDF Download

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May 1st, 2020

COVID-19 Response: Resources for Small and Mid-Size Farms in Mississippi

Emily Broad Leib, Alex Ramsey, and Emma I. Scott of the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a number of new and difficult challenges for families, small business owners, and food producers across the country. This Issue Brief provides an overview of the resources available to small and mid-size farms facing such challenges in Mississippi. The first section outlines current benefit programs that these farms can utilize, including loans and unemployment benefits, as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and related federal actions. The second section provides policies that the State of Mississippi could enact to provide additional assistance to farms dealing with the crisis.

April 23rd, 2020

COVID‐19 Response: Feeding Mississippi Children During School Closure

Emily Broad Leib, Suzanne Donahue, and Emma Scott of the Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic

Across the country, states have needed to use school closures and remote learning as strategies for reducing the spread of COVID‐19. On April 14, 2020, Mississippi leaders announced that children would stay home from their school facilities for the rest of the academic year. Extended school closures make it difficult to meet children’s nutritional needs: students who rely on free and reduced‐price meals from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) lose their best source of daily nutrition. About 74% of Mississippi public school students qualify for free or reduced‐price meals; the change could thus negatively impact over 344,000 school‐age children and their families. There are, however, ways for policymakers, schools, and community organizations to ensure that Mississippi children’s nutritional needs are met during this time. This fact sheet outlines opportunities to ensure the availability of adequate meals for low‐income children in Mississippi.

September 1st, 2016

Strengthening the Farm to School Movement in Mississippi: Strategies and Policy Goals

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

In recent years, Mississippi has seen increasing demand for locally grown food. Many consumers, policymakers, and advocates now see locally grown food as bringing health, economic, and environmental benefits to the local community. “Farm to school,” a means of building relationships between local farms and schools, has become increasingly popular, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among students and strengthening the local economy. In the last decade, farm to school in Mississippi has gone from a little-­‐known concept to a state-­‐supported approach adopted by school districts across the state. For example, through the Mississippi Department of Defense Farm to School Program, a partnership between Mississippi state agencies and federal agencies, the amount of local produce purchased in Mississippi schools increased by 334 percent between 2013 and 2015 alone.

September 1st, 2013

Farm to Institution

Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic & Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

In a state with rich agricultural resources and a long farming tradition, why are Mississippi’s institutions serving fruits and vegetables mostly shipped from other states and countries? Connecting Mississippi growers with institutions within the state offers a promising way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption while improving the economic viability of local farms. This step-by-step guide aims to help growers in Mississippi start to sell locally grown foods to be served in meals at institutions around the state, such as hospitals, schools, prisons, and state and local government agencies.

September 1st, 2012

Farm to School in Mississippi: A Brief Guide to Purchasing Mississippi Products

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

Farm to School encompasses a broad range of programs in which schools are connected with local farms. Some examples of Farm to School programs include a school inviting a local farmer to present to students on small-scale food production; a school making a one-time purchase of locally grown vegetables to feature at lunch or snack during Farm to School Week; or a school making recurring weekly or monthly purchases from a local farmer and developing a relationship where the farmer plans his growing season to produce the type and quantity of produce requested by the food service director.

September 1st, 2012

Farm to School in Mississippi: A Step-by-Step Guide to Purchasing Mississippi Products

Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic & Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

In a state with rich agricultural resources, lasting traditions of family farming, and a climate conducive to year-long growing seasons, why are Mississippi’s school children eating fruits and vegetables predominantly shipped from other states and countries? Farm to school programs that connect Mississippi farmers with schools offer a promising way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for students while improving the economic viability of local farms. This step-by-step purchasing guide aims to help school food service directors in Mississippi start to purchase locally grown foods to be served in school meals.

August 1st, 2011

Creating a More Efficient and Effective Food Safety System in Memphis and Shelby County

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

The taste of a fresh-picked peach on a warm summer day is one of life’s simple joys. A store-bought peach can never truly replicate the experience. But in Memphis, getting that peach from the farmer’s tree into the customer’s hand is not as simple as one would assume. The fruit cannot be simply picked from the tree and then sold from the back of a produce truck. Instead, someone wanting to sell these fruits from his truck must obtain a permit and conform to outdated rules, such as the requirement for the truck to remain in motion at all times except when making sales. This restriction is just one example of the many unnecessary provisions in the Memphis Food Code that serve as obstacles to economic opportunity and access to healthy food.

May 1st, 2011

Expanding Farm to School in Mississippi: Analysis and Recommendations

Harvard Law School Health Law and Policy Clinic and the Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

“Farm to school” refers to any program that connects K-12 schools with local farmers. “Farm to cafeteria” and “farm to institution” are terms sometimes used for programs that include farm to school components, but might also focus on bringing local produce to other local institutions. Most farm to school efforts concentrate on what is called “farm direct” purchasing, where schools buy products directly from local farmers to serve in the school cafeteria. The business partnerships that develop through farm direct programs often lead to educational activities, with farmers and schools working together to teach students about nutrition, agriculture, the environment, and other subjects. Not all farm to school programs involve farm direct purchasing; food distributors that supply schools can also participate by purchasing locally grown products and making them available to school purchasing officers.

April 1st, 2011

Mississippi Farmers Markets: A Legal and Business Guide

Emily Broad, Esq., Libby Benton, Myra Blake, Alonzo Emery, Jessica Fitts, Matthew Greenfield, et al.

This policy paper addresses state and federal laws affecting farmers markets in Mississippi, focusing on particularly confusing or burdensome areas of the law. Each section reviews Mississippi law and compares it to other states, then recommends alternatives.

December 1st, 2010

Legislative and Regulatory Recommendations to Allow Home-Processing of Low-Risk Foods in Mississippi

Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project

With the recent growth in farmers markets and the demand for local, fresh foods there has been a push to allow individuals to produce and sell foods made in their homes. This report will explain why Mississippi should follow the trend set by over 30 states to allow in-home production and sale of certain low-risk or non-potentially hazardous foods like baked goods, jams, jellies, and dried herbs. This report will lay out current Mississippi law regarding the processing of such non-potentially hazardous foods in home kitchens; compare Mississippi law to the laws employed in other states; and make recommendations for Mississippi’s adoption of new regulations or legislation that would permit home processors to sell their non-potentially hazardous foods to the public.

November 1st, 2010

Food Assistance Programs and Mississippi Farmers Markets

Emily Broad, Esq., Elizabeth Bailey, Myra Blake, Lee Brand, et. al.

At a time when money is tight everywhere, things are particularly tough in Mississippi. The budget problems and high rates of unemployment that challenge other states are compounded in Mississippi by alarmingly high rates of obesity. One of the main causes of this dangerous health issue is that Mississippi’s poorest people have very little access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local farm products, despite recent growth in farmers markets across the state. Without access to healthy foods, this vulnerable population is left with unhealthy food alternatives that contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Barriers at the local, state and national level have either limited or entirely blocked the use of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP formerly known as food stamps) benefits at Mississippi farmers markets. In addition, federal funding for the Women Infants and Children (WIC) farmers market voucher programs in Mississippi has remained stagnant in recent years. Thus, the poorest Mississippians are unable to use their government benefits to purchase healthy food, and are forced to resort to less healthy alternatives. This is a serious problem requiring immediate action by our elected officials and government agencies.



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