Food access is still a mayor concern in the New Orleans Metropolitan area. Though new groceries and markets have opened post-Katrina, prices aren’t always accessible for low-income families. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without easy access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. In Nola many residents still have little access to supermarkets and grocery stores due to low-income or transportation inaccessibility. Often residents complain that the closest food sources are fast food restaurants and convenience stores, though affordable, offer few healthy options. According to the USDA, “The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”
To learn more about how Louisiana and other states fare in food-accessibility, visit the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas.
Relying on grocery stores and supermarkets for fresh produce is not enough. Local Farmer’s Market can fill the void of urban food deserts at little or no cost to families. Did you know you can use your EBT/SNAP Benefits in participating Farmer’s Markets? Not only do these markets provide fresh produce, but they also offer educational resources to the community, including classes and volunteer opportunities. Here are some local vendors you should check out!
Located in City Park, this large-sized farm, not only grows a wide variety of produce, it also leads educational classes for teens. Grow Dat mostly sells through Farm Shares/CSA, farm stands and to local businesses. They accept EBT/SNAP Benefits at their farm stands. Grow Dat Youth Farm also offers job opportunities to high school students. Teens get to work alongside experienced farmers and learn about leadership, agricultural skills, wellness, and food justice.
This community-based project in the Lower Ninth Ward, offers fresh local food in low socioeconomic areas. All their produce is sustainably grown and they accept EBT/SNAP Benefits and Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons. They also host cooking demos, volunteer opportunities, and health screenings. They started the HEAL Project, which teaches kids the nutritional value of healthy meals, the connection between food and wellbeing, gardening, and community leadership.
If you’re looking for discounts on fresh produce, Hollygrove offers 20% for those using their EBT/SNAP Benefits, and more discounts for college students and Hollygrove residents. Their mission is to increase accessibility to fresh produce in undeserved communities, as well as promote sustainable farming practices.They offer a bi-weekly box for the price of $31 that contains 9-12 fresh, and seasonal items from various local farmers, which is enough to feed 2-3 people, and also includes a dozen eggs. If you want to learn more about their farming practice you can become a Market Volunteer, and you’ll be able to claim a box of fresh goods!
Located on Broad St., this urban farm not only sells fresh produce at a moderate price-range, they also engage the community through hands-on-training, volunteer opportunities and partnerships with local food vendors. They want to create positive relationships, and support the health and wellbeing of community members. Recently they started hosting gardening classes in Spanish and Volunteer for Veggies! Stay tuned for their market days, by visiting Refresh Project.
For more farmer's markets in the area, check out the USDA’s Local Food Directory.