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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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Alliances and Partnerships, Business, Free News Articles, NonProfit and Charities

Dryades YMCA Partners with the Recirculating Farms Coalition

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Dryades YMCA is partnering with the Recirculating Farms Coalition (RFC), a sustainable farming and food justice advocacy organization. RFC will relocate its farm - Growing Local NOLA - to YMCA-owned land on Jackson Avenue, where it crosses Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in Central City, just a few steps from the Dryades Y building.

"We've wanted a community garden for some time so that our Central City youth and neighbors can strengthen their sense of community, be more active, and ultimately access affordable fresh produce. This an ideal partnership - RFC has the skills and experience, and we have the space and opportunity to further our work to address youth food insecurity," said Alicia Oliver, Operations and Mission Advancement Director of the Dryades Y.

The new farm will provide fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and more for YMCA snacks and meals, classes and youth food pantry. RFC's team will also collaborate with YMCA staff on building a community green space with classes in gardening, health-supportive cooking and holistic wellness.

"We are so excited to be working with the Dryades YMCA," says Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition. "This partnership will bring locally grown, healthy food to children through seniors in the YMCA programs and also offer a wide range of food and farm related classes and events to the Central City neighborhood and beyond."

Work on the new growing spaces is already underway with a Dow Promise grant and a donation of raised garden beds by Folgers Coffee. The organizations have volunteer days planned to help with preparing the site and planting. Classes and events should begin early in the new year.

About the Dryades YMCA

Since 1905, the Dryades YMCA has been an integral part of New Orleans and the greater metropolitan area by providing thousands of youth and their families meaningful opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. The Dryades Y is for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We are dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities in New Orleans and the Metro region.

About the Recirculating Farms Coalition

The New Orleans-based Recirculating Farms Coalition is a collaborative group of farmers, educators, non-profit organizations and others committed to building local sources of healthy, accessible food. Through research, training and advocacy, we work to support development of innovative, eco-efficient farms. These recirculating farms can create stable green jobs and supply sustainably-grown food - fruits, vegetables, herbs and humanely-raised seafood - in diverse communities. RFC also offers community programming including farming, exercise, and cooking classes; workshops; and a weekly garden basket. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Marianne Cufone

Alicia Oliver

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This news story was published by the Neotrope® News Network - all rights reserved.