Growing Healthy NOLA Neighborhoods
Many of our neighborhoods lack access to fresh vegetables, fruits and non-processed food, and the tools and resources for a healthy lifestyle. We are changing this.
Growing Local On the Geaux delivers fresh, affordable locally-farmed food and related health-supportive services promoting wellness throughout our community.
Growing Local on the Geaux is a project of Recirculating Farms committed to improving the health and wellness of New Orleans residents. To achieve this, our primary goals are:
- Enhance food accessibility and affordability.
We strive to achieve long term equitable access to fresh, healthy, affordable local food for everyone. Therefore our work is currently primarily focused on low-income, underserved neighborhoods in the greater New Orleans, Louisiana community. Moreover, teaching people to grow fresh food, both for personal use and as a business, increases availability, as does offering delivery of low cost fresh food weekly – making good food more accessible and affordable throughout the city.
- Improve the health and wellness of our communities.
We focus on economic, physical and mental well being. Early detection medical screenings can notify people about potential health threats at a time when they can be more easily resolved or managed. Additionally, various programs - health supportive cooking demonstrations, farm-to-school classes, nutrition information, professional trainings and more - encourages people to think about and engage in healthy behaviors at all ages and develop the skills and knowledge for long term careers in local food, and farming, making our community healthier overall.
- Promote a sustainable local food system.
We aim to train the trainers, to build skills and professionalism in the community. One novel component of our project is to provide meaningful training for people interested in food and farm businesses. We offer classes at no charge – but the participants in our program over time commit to becoming the future trainers to teach others these skills. This inherent “pay it forward” mechanism enables us to continually offer classes taught by skilled professionals in growing food, preparing food and other related green jobs, with very low expenses.
- Support local resiliency.
This project promotes local food security and innovation in urban farming, inspires healthier behaviors and interactions among neighbors, and offers the ability to provide services “on the Geaux” - through a mobile wellness vehicle, right where they are most wanted and needed. This means our city can be more resilient when circumstances create challenges in accessing food, health care or other needs. We will be more able to provide our own food, monitor our health, and rely on assistance from those in our community because we will be proactive now in building these assets.
- Create a more equitable New Orleans.
Access to fresh healthy food, safe outdoor green spaces for recreation and socializing, affordable basic medical care and other important services like job training can be severely limited or even inaccessible in some places. This is especially true for people with little or no income and for those without reliable transportation or who for any reason cannot travel far from home. This project helps to level the field, across all socio-economic boundaries and offers regular affordable access to various health-supportive services, right where people want and need them most – in their own neighborhoods. We bring free basic medical testing and monitoring, along with community development and support in the form of trainings in food and farm businesses, and exercise and recreation to sites throughout New Orleans. Additionally, we offer delivery of fresh local food at reduced prices. This one stop “wellness vehicle” makes being healthier easy, fun and, most importantly, accessible and affordable.
In 2012, Recirculating Farms established a community garden in Central City, New Orleans, Louisiana. The garden quickly became a recognized hub for training, learning and community interaction and advocacy related to fresh, local food. Over time, we developed partnerships with a wide range of entities and individuals at all levels of the food production, distribution, marketing and management system. Through our participants and partners, we learned that while the programs at our unique garden food hub were changing food availability and access and having positive impacts on health in the community, these resources were not optimally located for all residents. For many, reaching our garden requires significant travel, which is often too time consuming and inaccessible. Notably, the real need in the community is opportunities within the very neighborhoods where food security and access are limited or absent, mainly low-income, underserved areas.
This challenge inspired the initiation of our new Mobile Food Hub program in 2016 – bringing good food and a variety of health-related services directly where they are most wanted and needed. This project will increase what we offer by lowering overall expenses through cooperative work with partners and expand to more sites so we can better serve more people in neighborhoods throughout New Orleans, in an affordable, smart way - “on the Geaux”.
Thanks To Our Partner
Top Box Foods is a non-profit organization with a simple purpose: to offer fresh, healthy foods at affordable prices, particularly to those living in areas with limited access to nutritious eating options. Top Box delivers food to sites around New Orleans. Top Box now works with Recirculating Farms in offering more local food to its customers.
Interested in becoming a farmer yourself? Want to learn more about the policy behind bringing people fresh, healthy food? Just want to say hello? Drop the Growing Local team a line: