Legislative Update: HB 535 was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant on April 24, 2012. See our Press Release here.
In Mississippi, counties and municipalities only have the authority granted to them by state statute. This means they can only use money to fund programs and initiatives, such as farmers markets, when they are authorized by statute. Currently, the Mississippi State Code is unclear as to the ability of counties and municipalities to fund farmers markets.
Representative Toby Barker proposed House Bill # 535, which would amend the Mississippi State Code to clarify county and municipal authority to fund farmers markets. These amendments do not create any obligations or bind government entities in any way, but only remove legal uncertainty for counties and municipalities that wish to fund farmers markets. Counties and municipalities should be allowed to fund farmers markets because they provide great health, economic, social and community benefits.
Make sure this bill becomes law by letting your senators know that you support giving counties and municipalities the ability to fund farmers markets! Here are a few simple steps that can help make a big impact:
1. Find your legislators’ contact information by entering your zip code at Vote Smart.
2. Email or call your legislators and tell them why you support Farmers Markets legislation.
Some suggested talking points:
- Farmers Markets increase access to healthy foods, which improves the overall health of the local community.
- Farmers Markets keep food dollars in the state, which benefits the local economy.
- Farmers Markets support local farmers by making it easier for them to sell their crops directly to consumers on a smaller scale.
Personalize your email by including the reasons that you support farmers markets.
- Farmers: tell your legislator how selling your crops at farmers markets contributes to your livelihood.
- Community Members: tell your legislators how farmers markets improve the quality of your diet, particularly if you live in an area where access to fresh produce is scarce.
- The more personalized your input, the more effective it will be!
3. Spread the word about Farmers Markets in your community!
- Encourage other community members to contact their legislators.
- Buy your food at farmers markets! Find a list of farmers markets in Mississippi here!
- Helpful resources
Make sure your legislators know the positive impact farmers markets can have in Mississippi!