“We turn this empty pavilion into this place that’s teeming with life and represents everything that’s special and unique about Oxford,” said Betsy Chapman, the woman behind this life-filled place also known as the Oxford Community Market.
The Oxford Community Market is a non-profit farmers market supporting local farmers around Lafayette County. It takes place every Tuesday from 3-6:30 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion on University Avenue.
“The market’s mission is obviously to be a farmers market, a place where we are bringing together producers and consumers…,” Chapman said. “Then, in addition to that, the market has a mission to address food insecurity because we think this wonderful, healthy food should be accessible to everyone, but there are barriers that people face in accessing it. It’s not a lack of food; it’s a lack of resources… economic barriers, transportation barriers, and consumer education barriers.”
One way the Oxford Community Market is combating the economic barrier is through its partnership with different benefit programs. The market has programs in place to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) users to shop at the market and receive more produce with their SNAP dollars.
In addition to this, the market partners with the food pantry and donates local produce each week. During the holiday season, it also uses its produce to contribute to harvest baskets, which are distributed to different families around Thanksgiving.
Chapman became interested in the local food system when she realized she was unaware of where her food was coming from. First, she began working at Yokna Bottom Farm, a community-supported agriculture system, in Lafayette County. She then began working at the Oxford Community Market as director.
The different vendors at the market are all from areas surrounding Oxford like Pontotoc, Taylor, Tupelo, and New Albany. The market sells a variety of produce and other products. The local vendors sell pumpkins, eggs, canned goods, fruits and vegetables, and even popsicles. Typically, The End of All Music sets up a booth and provides live music. Also, several stations show tutorials for making quick, healthy meals with the food sold at the market.
The market is doing more than just providing commerce between local consumers and local producers. It is bringing the community together while promoting diversity and health. Gradually, the market has become a gathering place for people of all different backgrounds. The market has been participating in the Food Day programs at the University of Mississippi, and this has attracted many students to shop at the market.
The Oxford Community Market is continuing to grow and fulfill its missions. As the market director, Chapman is working to increase awareness of the market and address food insecurity in the area. To get involved with the market, visit on Tuesday or contact Betsy Chapman at (662)-816-7413.