Jackson, MS – March 16. 2020– We are reaching out to you today with an update regarding the Fertile Ground Project’s 2020 Expo. Together with organizations across Jackson, the U.S., and around the world, we are monitoring the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At this time, we have decided to postpone the Fertile Ground Project’s 2020 Expo. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance that for the next eight weeks, organizers postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
Our staff are continuing to monitor the situation and will make a decision about rescheduling programming at a later date. We will continue to follow all mandated local, state, and federal directives, restrictions, and guidance. Over the next few weeks we will be reaching out to artists, farmers, and presenters individually to discuss how we will be modifying plans for the various projects and presentations. We are committed to communicating regularly with you all as these decisions are made, including via email, our website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
As shoppers flood grocery stores and schools that provide free and reduced breakfast and lunch shut down, COVID-19 is highlighting and deepening existing food insecurity for low-income families who live paycheck-to-paycheck and struggle to keep food on the table. It is illuminating the urgent need for bold, community-driven food policy and systems change. We are working to balance two imperatives: continuing our work of using public art to spark conversation and action on building a resilient, healthy, and equitable food system, while also keeping our community healthy and safe—especially those most vulnerable.
Many of you have made significant contributions and in-kind investments to the Fertile Ground Project, including our supporters at Bloomberg Philanthropies and the City of Jackson. Hundreds of Jacksonians and partners from across Mississippi and the country have contributed time, talent, and passion—both to the 2020 Expo and our broader efforts to reimagine what food access is within a Southern-urban context.
Thank you for your partnership, assistance, and support as The Fertile Ground Project works to confront these important issues. Please stay safe during this unprecedented time.
Candice Cole firstname.lastname@example.org City of Jackson Director of Communications