Food Security in West Tallahatchie: A Partnership between the University of Michigan and the Emmett Till Memorial Commission


Team Members

Anna Bengtson, Kathleen Carroll, Sarah Ladin, Lee Taylor-Penn, and Grace van Velden


Dr. Laurie Lachance

Project Summary

Food security is crucial to the health of individuals and their communities. Mississippi is the nation’s least food secure state, with 22 percent of households reporting a lack of access to healthy food. People living in Mississippi’s West Tallahatchie County have experienced an increase in food insecurity since the recession. Project partner, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, is working with partners to increase access to healthy food among the African American community.

A local grocery store in the West Tallahatchie area offers primarily processed and canned foods, and does not offer fresh produce. The project team focused on the ability to achieve food security in this area through long-term, sustainable food systems. Three food system scenarios were proposed and included innovative solutions to this critical issue. Through community engagement, including meetings, interviews and workshops, the team anticipates transitioning the project into the hands of community leaders to implement solutions.