Since 2002, NOFFN has worked with individuals, communities, and growers to support sustainable growing practices and to ensure equal access to safe, nutritious, enjoyable food.
NOFFN is committed to supporting the growth of agriculture in cities and regions through the growing of growers and the training of farmers.
NOLA Food Map Project
Food maps created to help connect residents and agencies to food places in the New Orleans post-Katrina.
In 2005, NOFFN was a small organization with an educational, project-based approach to their work. But that approach changed after Hurricane Katrina. The storm brought stark inequities and racism within New Orleans into sharp relief. The summer after Hurricane Katrina, NOFFN rallied its membership to create a series of “food maps,” tips for the real-life scavenger hunt that Gulf Coast residents undertook to stave off hunger.
Immediately following the hurricane, many food retailers around the city weren’t operating and food availability was low, but certain neighborhoods were harder hit than others. The Mapping project went neighborhood-by-neighborhood, plotting community access to fresh produce and creating a plan to increase it. The process begins with a detailed map of neighborhood food assets including current food retail locations, potential growing sites, and WIC and Electronic Benefit Transfer services.
Over 6,000 paper maps including over 2,000 English and Spanish emergency food maps which listed sites of food pantries and soup kitchens were distributed.
Food Talk Project
At O. Perry Walker High School in Algiers, NOFFN piloted our food system curriculum for youth that fostered the relationship building between students and elders from the community. Students interviewed these individuals who were integral in the local food economy and could assess the food history of New Orleans.
Grow New Orleans / New Orleans Food Charter / New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee
In order to increase civic awareness of local food insecurity and food justice, NOFFN established Grow New Orleans, a local food system coalition. The New Orleans Community Food Charter, a document signed by citizens and endorsed by community groups, has been accepted by the City Council as part of the recommendations from the Food Policy Advisory Committee on which we served.
After the destruction of the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's, NOFFN realized that the stakes were too high to waste time duplicating the efforts of other organizations. NOFFN started to band together with other local groups who had expertise in food security, public health, and sustainable agriculture to determine the city’s unmet food security needs and the best policy approaches to address them. It resulted in a new collaborative - Grow New Orleans Network - that met quarterly to share resources, develop further collaborations, and focus attention on the need for a healthy and sustainable food system for New Orleans.
In addition, NOFFN assisted in assembling a Food Policy Advisory Council to advise the city council on how to improve the local food system. To guide the work of the Advisory Council, NOFFN and the Grow New Orleans Network created the New Orleans Community Food Charter. The Charter reflects NOFFN’s equity focus stating that strategies to develop a secure and healthy local food system must “remove barriers to fresh, healthy food access for all our citizens. Some of these barriers include lack of transportation, inadequate wages, and the unequal distribution of outlets which offer fresh healthy foods.” The Charter also prioritizes setting aside abandoned land within the city for farming.
A peer education program for youths that fostered leadership in a core group of youths, empowering them through a skills-based curriculum to provide and advocate for healthful, affordable foods for their families and peers.
The Farm Yard Project & Good Food Neighborhoods
The Farm Yard Project provided capacity building through training and technical assistance to local aspiring, novice and experienced growers that are desirous of creating home-based gardens or urban micro-farms on vacant lots.
Good Food Neighborhoods project was the building of backyard and community gardens on a neighborhood level. This gardening project solicited partner organizations to become a “Garden Hub,” a site within each neighborhood where community members gather for on-site trainings, garden materials are housed and distributed, and a tool and resource lending library are located. This is the site was also where new neighborhood garden leaders were trained, monthly garden workshops were conducted and a community of gardeners were cultivated.
The popular monthly Grow Mo' Better workshops were part of these projects.
Hollygrove Market & Farm is a result of these projects.
NOLA Growers Guide
Land Issues – getting land, water access, property liability insurance, materials; Farm Financing options to develop farms and begin growing; Establishing Markets for what is grown; Workshops, Training, and Mentoring to become better at growing
An online database and website of vacant and underutilized land in New Orleans that allows residents to see data related to individual vacant parcels and presents organizing opportunities for communities interested in lot transformation.