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The Recirculating Farms Coalition and the New Orleans Food and Farm Network are pleased to announce the November 6th groundbreaking of Growing Local NOLA, an innovative urban farming and food center. The center plans to host a community garden - with raised soil beds and fruit trees - events space, an open air classroom, green market, agriculture resource center and much more.
A very unique aspect of the new facility is that much of the agriculture will use soilless water-based techniques, including hydroponics - growing plants in constantly recirculating nutrient rich water, and aquaponics - raising fish and plants together in a single system where water and waste are recycled and reused.
Originally slated for vacant land near the New Orleans Convention Center, Growing Local NOLA will now be in Central City on two nearby lots, with the main campus just a block off the St Charles street car line. The new sites are being developed in collaboration with Gulf Coast Housing Partnership.
Growing Local NOLA will be a center for education, training, and community interaction on growing, marketing, and preparing healthy food in the city and beyond. 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 fresh, healthy, affordable foods, including vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Products will be offered to local distributors and restaurants, and directly to consumers through an on-site 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, demonstrations, lectures, and community discussions related to food, health and more.
Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and Mayor Mitch Landrieu have been invited to speak at the event.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and the Claneil Foundation, among others, provided critical funding for this project.