Duck Hill makes a stand against small town stereotypes

DUCK HILL, Miss. (WCBI) – Community events are good for bringing people together, but in Duck Hill’s case how they get their food is an interesting story.

The food for their 4th of July community event was paid for by a grant the town received earlier in the year, but this purchase only scrapes the surface.

The money and help from various organizations is going to do much more.

For small towns like Duck Hill, there aren’t many chances for economic development, but Duck Hill has banded together and made progress in making their area a better place to live.

Like many small towns in Mississippi, there are problems that seem to have no hope of fixing.

In Duck Hill, however, residents are fighting for a basic necessity.

“I don’t think that Duck Hill, the residents in Duck Hill and the residents who live in North Montgomery county, should have to drive 10-15 miles to a grocery store,” said Romona Taylor Williams.

That distance to groceries is what makes Duck Hill a food desert, but thanks to efforts from people like Williams, that’s looking to change.

“Why can’t we have local vegetables and fresh fruits that are going to heal our bodies,” she asked after mentioning how the only food options available to her neighbors are unhealthy.

After submitting an application to the Local Foods Local Places (L.F.L.P.) initiative from the Federal Government, Duck Hill was one of 16 towns selected across the country.

L.F.L.P. focuses on communities reinvesting in food outlet possibilities, and now that’s coming to Duck Hill.

“That action plan is going to be centered around creating a local food economy,” Williams said.

Grant money from other applications has gone to helping the town’s flood control, something residents say they’ve never had.

“Flooding was terrible here,” said Shernell Everett, a lifetime resident of Duck Hill. “This whole front street here, when it rains it would just be like a river.”

“The Southeastern Sustainability Director’s Network, that funding that we needed in order to mitigate just years and years, decades, of flooding, and to be coupled with the technical assistance… 9:16 it means the world to our community,” Williams said, describing how the funding has been used.

“We were very excited,” Everett said. “In fact, I took pictures the first time when it was raining. I was just so excited that we could actually drive down the street and there was no water.”

In their various awards, most of the time Duck Hill was the smallest town to receive support, and residents want to use this as a message that anything is possible.

Everett said, “If we can do it, any community can do it.”

L.F.L.P. was announced only last week in Duck Hill, but Williams tells us pretty soon we may be seeing a community garden and farmer’s market in Duck Hill.

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