MPBs Mississippi Roads to Feature Poplarville and Hattiesburg

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the blueberry portion of the filming. Look for me (and some other blueberry folks) on October 16 at 7pm.  For more info, read below.

A Road Trip To A Blueberry Jubilee And An Extra Table

The newest episode of Mississippi Roads features the Blueberry Jubilee held in the south Mississippi town of Poplarville and Extra Table, a philanthropy founded by renowned Hattiesburg chef, Robert St. John. The episode will air Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. on MPB TV.Mississippi Roads gets a taste of Poplarville at its 31st annual Blueberry Jubilee. More than 10,000 people flood downtown Poplarville every year for the festival. Visitors make the trip for the arts and crafts, storytelling, live entertainment and, of course, the amazing food they can only find at the jubilee. The proceeds of the Blueberry Jubilee provide grants to fund programs and projects that serve the community.Next, Mississippi Roads pulls up a chair at chef Robert St. John’s Extra Table. Extra Table is an organization that focuses on reducing the prevelance of food deserts and hunger in the state by stocking food banks and soup kitchens with healthy food.

In 2009, St. John received a call from a local food bank asking him for help—the food bank’s shelves were empty and 800 families needed food. So, St. John contacted Sysco, his restaurants’ food distributer, and delivered enough healthy food to stock the food bank and feed the 800 families. This got St. John thinking.

“What if every restaurant and home had an extra table to serve people in need? What would that look like?” said St. John.

In order to address the severe food insecurity problem facing his community, St. John partnered with Sysco and by 2011, Extra Table was delivering new healthy and nutritious food to agencies at below wholesale prices on a regular basis.

“Extra Table receives donations from private companies and individuals—100 percent of all donations go towards buying healthy food which we deliver directly to agencies keeping their shelves filled,” said St. John.

Extra Table cuts the food costs of the agencies it serves significantly. This enables the agencies to allocate those funds to programs that serve the community in other ways.

“The money that was going towards buying food is pumped directly into the community. The agencies use that money to provide things like after school programs and career prep workshops,” said St. John.

For more about the Blueberry Jubilee and Extra Table, tune in to MPB TV on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. for Mississippi Roads.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) provides instructional and public affairs programming to Mississippians through its statewide television and radio network. MPB enhances the work of educators, students, parents and learners of all ages by providing informative programming and educational resources. MPB’s locally-produced programming focuses on the people, resources and attractions that reflect Mississippi’s unique culture and diverse heritage. Children’s television programs constitute a major portion of the daytime and weekend morning schedules. MPB provides a valuable resource to Mississippians in disseminating information as part of the state’s emergency preparedness and response system. Since 1970, MPB has won over 400 national, regional and statewide awards, including Emmy®, Edward R. Murrow and Parents’ Choice Awards. For more information on MPB, its programs, mission or educational resources, please visit

October 9, 2014
Jeannie Huey