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Combining music and local food

Kale Yeah, Yam Right!

Those were the words printed on $10 T-shirts for sale at an Oxford event Sunday afternoon on the Square.

Oxford resident Eleanor Green, 43, is the program director of Good Food for Oxford Schools, a farm to school program.

“We work to bring local food into our school cafeterias,” she said before performers took the stage for the fourth annual Gospel Choir Showcase that combined music and food.

Food samples from the school district’s cafe were available for purchase. Children were invited to make sweet potato energy bites in a kids’ tent, and one team making sweet potato black bean burgers competed to have their dish added to the school menu next year.

Choirs from Sardis, Oxford and Abbeville performed.

“The idea was to build a weekend to close Double Decker weekend and invite the community to come out and support the schools,” said Green.

Oxford native Barbara Bell, 51, stood under a tent awaiting performances by members of her church choir from Second Missionary Baptist Church.

“It’s always good to be a part of the Double Decker festival, and as a whole, the Oxford community,” she said. “We are just here to give God the glory and support our children.

“While they work hard, we are working hard behind them, and we want to encourage them in every way to keep God first so they can excel higher.”

Brookhaven native Jake Sessums, 33, who owns the YoknapaTaco food truck, was one of the cooking demonstration judges.

“One of the great things that Good Food for Oxford Schools and the local food movement has done is create awareness for these kids about their eating habits,” he said. “I think it’s a great program and something I’ve seen grow, even in the last couple of years since I’ve been here.”

Sessums said program leaders have also helped create local community gardens. As a result, children have learned about growing food and preparation.

“It’s something that is going to keep going forward,” he said.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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