Food & Farm Works @ Edible Enterprises

The New Orleans Food & Farm Network Announces Partnership with St. Charles Parish to Develop a Food Hub for the Greater New Orleans Region

Food & Farm Works @ Edible Enterprises – An Incubator for Local Food and Farm Entrepreneurs

The New Orleans Food & Farm Network Announces Partnership with St. Charles Parish to Develop a Food Hub for the Greater New Orleans Region

 

The New Orleans Food & Farm Network (NOFFN) announces a partnership with St. Charles Parish to develop a new food hub, Food & Farm Works @ Edible Enterprises. The initiative allows Food & Farm Works to broadly expand the resources available to food entrepreneurs and grow the base of potential users of the Metro New Orleans area’s only licensed food technology incubator facility, located in Norco, LA.

 

The project is also benefiting from technical assistance provided by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation as part of its Social Venture Accelerator program.

 

“Building a local food economy requires both the local farmers growing food and the food manufacturers making products from this local food,” said Sanjay Kharod, Executive Director of the New Orleans Food & Farm Network. “Food and Farm Works makes this important critical connection because we believe that New Orleanians should eat great food that is grown and produced by New Orleanians.”

 

For years, farmers, agriculture extension agents, non-profits, and food manufacturers have been frustrated with missing connections in our local food system. This includes finding ways for farmers to sell more of what they grow beyond conventional outlets, such as farmers markets and roadside stands. The result is produce that is often left to rot in the field, excess composted on-site, and farmers not earning what they could in proportion to their full potential. If the local food movement is to grow, we need to provide more markets for this local produce by helping local people make locally-sourced food products.

 

“We are grateful and extremely excited with the decision of NOFFN to launch its Food & Farm Works initiative in St. Charles Parish,” said St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, Jr. 

 

St. Charles Parish Director of Economic Development and Tourism Corey Faucheux proclaims the effort a win-win for both organizations. “Food & Farm Works will offer resources that were previously unknown to a community of entrepreneurs in Greater New Orleans, resulting in a higher utilization of our Norco facility.” 

 

Food & Farm Works’ goals are to lower the risk threshold for opening a food business and to define and simplify the pathways and procedures required for new and existing food manufacturers and farmers to grow, become sustainable, and provide safe and quality food to consumers. Food & Farm Works will offer technical assistance and training in food industry techniques and business operations along with assistance in sourcing ingredients from local farmers, thereby re-localizing the food economy.

 

"This licensed food manufacturing incubator kitchen facility is a great resource for food manufacturers to safely produce their products, deliver consistent quality to both small and large customers and, with the support and tools of the Food & Farm Works team, to understand the business side of this business for the best chance for success," said Dianne Sclafani, Propeller's Food and Restaurant Consultant to the initiative.

 

By offering training for businesses in food sanitation, equipment operation and kitchen protocols, Food & Farm Works will serve as an entrepreneurial incubator, a place where the New Orleans region’s up-and-coming food producers kick start their businesses, without risking the capital for their own commercial kitchen. In addition, NOFFN will keep its commitment to helping underserved communities by raising funds to offer partial subsidization of the licensing, permitting, and kitchen rental for start-up food entrepreneurs from low-income and marginalized backgrounds.

 

"Changing the New Orleans food system requires collaboration and innovation all along the value chain, from growers to distributors, and everyone in between," says Propeller Executive Director Andrea Chen. "We are excited to support Food and Farm Works as they create this missing piece to help increase economic opportunities for local food entrepreneurs."

 

Food & Farm Works @ Edible Enterprises offers: two government approved shared-use commercial kitchens available 24-7, packaging equipment, ample storage space for tenants (freezer, cooler and dry pallet storage), a location to provide to obtain an occupational license, education, and help sourcing from local farmers.

 

Kharod stated, “We strongly believe that local producers can both feed our community and be the driving force behind culinary ingenuity and new food movements in the region. NOFFN will continue to work collaboratively to support and initiate multiple models and strategies to sustainably grow food in the Greater New Orleans region. With Food & Farm Works @ Edible Enterprises, we will fill another gap that hinders the further growth of the local food system by making the connection between farmers and food manufacturers that will result in economic opportunities for a greater number of residents in the greater New Orleans region.”

 

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About the New Orleans Food & Farm Network (NOFFN): NOFFN has been involved at various stages of the growth of New Orleans’ local food system since its formation in 2002, when a group of residents came together with the goal of improving access to fresh, healthy food in New Orleans. It was created to fill gaps in the local food system by helping build economically viable and sustainable pieces of this system. NOFFN is the only organization in New Orleans providing support, capacity-building, and technical assistance to a wide-range of emerging agricultural projects including: Hollygrove Market and Farm, Backyard Gardeners Network, and Growing Local NOLA. Most recently, they democratized information on vacant lot availability with Living Lots NOLA and provided a methodology and information on transforming these lots into farms, gardens, and community spaces with the FarmCity Toolbox. Website:  www.noffn.org, info@noffn.org, Phone: 888-966-0829.

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