Groundbreaking: Growing Local NOLA, Urban Food & Farming Center

An excited crowd gathered on an empty lot in Central City New Orleans this morning as the Recirculating Farms Coalition and the New Orleans Food and Farm Network officially broke ground on a unique community farm and food center – “Growing Local NOLA”.

Neighbors stopped by to talk about their hopes for the new facility, city and state officials gave congratulations and well wishes and partners and supporters joined in celebration.

The core of the Center will be a working farm that showcases cutting-edge yet affordable, water, space and energy efficient growing techniques, like recirculating hydroponics and aquaponics. These systems use constantly recycled nutrient-rich water in place of soil to grow plants (including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs) and aquaponics raise fish too (learn more here).

Products will be offered to local distributors and restaurants, and directly to consumers through a nearby green market, and special events like a farmers’ market.

There will be a wide range of programs at the Center like personal gardening, commercial farming, and farm-to-table cooking classes, fitness workshops, youth and senior events, lectures, and community discussions related to food, health and more. The Center will also host a community garden, with raised soil beds and fruit trees

Working with other existing programs, Growing Local NOLA plans to help tackle the city’s label as a food desert and the state’s high obesity rate – the second worst in the country by providing healthy fresh affordable food and training in urban farming.

The organizations recently received major grants for the project from, among others, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and the Claneil Foundation. Christy Oliver Reeves, Director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana attended the event in person.

Read more about the groundbreaking here – see what city and state officials and others said about Growing Local NOLA!


  Sanjay Kharod, Christy Oliver Reeves, Marianne Cufone
  and Ayame Nagatani Dinkler at groundbreaking


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