Business, Free News Articles

Growing Local Collaborative Increases Food Deliveries and Resources in NOLA Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Today, the various organizations that make up the Growing Local Collaborative - Recirculating Farms Coalition, Top Box Foods Louisiana, SPROUT NOLA, New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee, and Liberty's Kitchen - in partnership with Market Umbrella and the Crescent City Farmers Market, are ramping up efforts to keep New Orleans residents fed and healthy by organizing food distribution from farms to families and mapping important resources.

Connor DeLoach, Executive Director of Top Box Louisiana said, "It is even more important for people to have access to fresh food right now, as we all try to be healthy. That's why we are working with our Growing Local Collaborative partners and Crescent City Farmers Market to bring fresh local food from Louisiana farms right to people's homes."

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, farmers markets closed to reduce potential for social contact, but people still want fresh local food. Crescent City Farmers Market and SPROUT NOLA worked together to get their growers online - posting profiles about farmers on websites and selling products that normally would be at the markets through a box delivery program with Top Box Foods Louisiana. All the staging and packing is happening at Liberty's Kitchen, which is currently suspending its other programs.

"Supporting our farmers is critical, so they are able to continue working and providing fresh food for us all," said Margee Green, Executive Director of SPROUT NOLA and organizer of the Monday ReFresh Farmers Market. "We are making sure fresh food doesn't go to waste, and it gets to people who want it, through RFC's Growing Local box and the new Crescent City Farmers Market box."

The Recirculating Farms Coalition runs Growing Local NOLA farms. Top Box has been delivering Local Garden Boxes for RFC for years, in neighborhoods with less access to fresh food, like Central City. The Growing Local boxes offers fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs and a fun "lagniappe" item for smaller families for $15. The new Crescent City Farmers Market Box is $40 and offers bigger portions. This box is comprised of goods from CCFM vendors and qualifies for their Market Match program. Both boxes accept SNAP.

"Emergencies, like this pandemic, illustrate why having a stable local food system is critical," said Marianne Cufone, Executive Director for Recirculating Farms Coalition. "We are able to mobilize partners to offer fresh local food for a range of budgets and needs. We started our box to provide food in neighborhoods with low or no access to fresh, healthy options. Now, working with the CCFM farmers, we are expanding what we can offer - we doubled the number of boxes available this week!"

In addition to the boxes, the Collaborative is collecting information about other food resources in the city; NOLA FPAC is taking the lead. Their website lists assorted programs and has a map where children who usually have meals in schools can get grab and go food.

Elisa Munoz, Executive Director of NOLA FPAC said, "Food is a key part of who we are in New Orleans, and knowing where to access food can help us feel healthier and safer, both of which we need now. We want to offer a wide range of resources for our community."

The American Heart Association of Greater New Orleans and The Humana Foundation are supporting these programs with grants to scale up operations and pay farmers for food.

About Recirculating Farms Coalition:

Visit: Facebook, Twitter (@RecircFarms) and Instagram (@growinglocalnola). Learn more here:

About Top Box Foods Louisiana: Visit: Facebook and Instagram (@topboxlouisiana) for updates. Learn more here:

About SPROUT NOLA: Visit: Facebook, Twitter, (@SPROUTNOLA), and Instagram (@sproutnola) and learn more here:

About New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee: Visit: Facebook, Twitter (@NolaFoodPolicy) and Instagram (@nolafoodpolicy) and learn more here:

About Liberty's Kitchen: Visit: Facebook, Twitter (@libertysitchen) and Instagram (@libertyskitchen) and learn more here:

About Market Umbrella and Crescent City Farmers Market: Visit: Facebook, Twitter (@ccfmtweets) and Instagram (@crescentcityfarmersmkt) and learn more here:

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Business, Free News Articles, NonProfit and Charities, Regional Events

New Orleans tech companies and training organizations come together to help prepare youth and young adults for emerging tech job market

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- LifeSkills Foundation will host the first annual Tech-2-Talent Youth Expo on Saturday, March 14 from 1 - 5:30 p.m. at the Mel Ott Multi-Purpose Center located at 2301 Belle Chasse Highway in Gretna, La. The event is a fun, interactive tech expo and speakers forum designed to encourage youth, ages 25 and under, and their parents to explore tech career pathways for 21st century jobs in areas like information technology, computer science, engineering, healthcare, cybersecurity, and digital media.

Co-sponsored by DXC Technology and OnPath Federal Credit Union, the event will educate and inform attendees about traditional and non-traditional pathways, certifications, and experiential learning opportunities that can lead to successful careers in hard and soft-skill positions in various industries. Attendees will learn how technology skills readily used in the home, school, and workplace can translate to long-term careers and entrepreneurial ventures. In addition, youth and their parents can be trained on a tech skill in 20 minutes or less during the Tech20 Interactive Showcase.

"Pursuing a job in tech-whether it's digital media, coding or health IT- is not only a great idea, but it lays the foundation for a career that can generate great pay and longevity as well as equip youth with the tools they need to successfully reinvest into the community," said Michelle Jackson, executive director of LifeSkills Foundation. "Our goal is to work with local stakeholders to offer youth, at all skill levels, a pathway to success in tech. If we can encourage one avid gamer to pursue a job as a video game designer or inspire a student who enjoys problem solving to pursue a job as a network administrator, we know we are moving in the right direction."

In traditional New Orleans style, Tech-2-Talent will include music by a local DJ, food, tech swag bags and prizes. Participants include DXC Technology, Tulane University School of Professional Advancement - Digital Design, Game Art & Animation, the U.S. Army, Operation Spark, National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), Diabetes Management & Supplies, Urban League of Louisiana, Tech Talent South, Zephyr Drones, NOLA Code, New Horizons Computer Learning Center, PR Solutions and My College Fit. Other participants include Electric Girls and Louisiana College.

The 2020 theme is, Inspiring the Next Generation of Tech Leaders. The event is open to youth with no tech skills or formal education, as well as those who are video game, smartphone, and social media savvy. Gaming competitions, virtual reality and drone demonstrations will take place throughout the day. Tech training and college preparation workshops will be offered. Parents can participate in all activities, attend panel discussions, and be guests at the Inspiring our Youth Speakers Forum. The forum will feature recent graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Cedric Dent Jr., author of "Searching for Purpose and Understanding: Fulfilling Your Purpose in Life."

Other speakers include: Jayed Stokes, Scrum Master, DXC Technology; Eddie Smith Jr., Software Engineer, GE Aviation; Dominque Riley, Senior Technical Product Manager, Baker Hughes; Anastasia Aubrey, Senior Scrum Master, DXC Technology; and Pamela Calonje, Career Consultant, New Horizons Computer Learning Center. New Horizons will also provide first-hand information about the Louisiana Workforce Commission Youth Grant, which provides young adults between the ages of 18-24 who are currently not in school, an opportunity to receive funds to cover the cost of IT training and certification programs.

To attend, register at or access the event on Eventbrite.

Ticket prices are $35. To receive a $15 discount, purchase tickets online using code T2TXmas19. Schools and nonprofits can receive two complimentary tickets if registered by March 1.

For more information, email Michelle Jackson at

About LifeSkills Foundation

LifeSkills Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides mentoring to youth and aspiring youth entrepreneurs. The Foundation connects young leaders to experienced business and academic professionals via virtual and face-to-face platforms designed specifically to ensure delivery of guidance, training, and financial support. The Foundation's mission is to help youth business leaders build viable ventures and use their business know-how, leadership skills, and self-confidence to invest in their communities, create jobs, and prepare for the future workforce. LifeSkills is a principal supporter of the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition.

Learn more about LifeSkills Foundation at:

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